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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League
By ESPN Staff

England flop McClaren backs new boss to succeed

Steve McClaren believes England possess enough quality to succeed despite not qualifying for Euro 2008.

McClaren was sacked as manager after the team failed to make next year's finals in Austria and Switzerland following last month's 3-2 Wembley defeat to Croatia.

The 46-year-old believes his successor will not only inherit a talented squad but will also benefit from having a period without any competitive matches.

McClaren told Sky Sports News: 'They really have to choose the best man and, whoever that is, I believe there is enough in that squad, there is enough in those players to be successful.

'Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me but I sincerely hope - I'm a fan as much as anybody else.

'And he'll have a great advantage going in - a long time to prepare.'

The former Middlesbrough boss was in charge for 18 games, the shortest tenure of any coach in the post.

However, McClaren insists he has no regrets.

'It isn't just 18 months I've worked with England, it's six and a half years and they've been fantastic,' he said.

'Even though it's ended like it's ended, I had incredible times, working with Sven (Goran Eriksson), being on my own.

'The support I've had from the players, from the staff around the team has really kept me going and that is what I value most, what's inside.

'The players were always good, the support I got from the admin and the medical (staff) was always fantastic and the support of the FA - I've got no qualms about that, which I've stated anyway.

'I'm disappointed it's all over but that's football.'

McClaren also admits he misses being involved.

He said: 'Despite England only joining up every couple of months, you're not working with players day in, day out - I miss that.

'I miss it even more now, not actually being involved in something to focus on. But I'll use this time wisely, spend time with the family, rest and recuperate.'

McClaren insists he is looking for an immediate return to the game.

'I wouldn't lie on a beach,' he said.

'I'm already taking in what has happened and trying to learn from that and be ready the next time.

'There will be another challenge although I don't know where that will be or what that will be, but there will be another challenge because that's me.

'I want to work, I want to contribute and I think I've still got a lot to offer football.

'It's only been two weeks. It seems like a lifetime, it will take me a while, take the fans a while, take the country a while to obviously get over the disappointment of not qualifying.

'That is something that will live with me for the rest of my life, it's a huge disappointment.

'In the new year, I'm going to start getting back into some work, and involvement in football at some stage because I still believe I'm a football person, I'm a coach, I'm a manager.

'I've worked all my life in football and I want that to continue.'

McClaren also backed beleaguered Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce, who relieved some of the pressure on him after last night's 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

'I find it incredible,' McClaren said of the speculation he could be sacked.

'I've been through it the last few months and Sam the last few weeks.

'He has to make his mark, he has to stamp his authority on the club and that can take time.

'The thing that delighted me was the performance last night from Newcastle and the support from the fans was incredible.

'People have got to have patience. They've got to know they picked the right man. Be patient, get around the players. I'm pleased for Sam, I sympathise with him, I understand.'