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Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Macca: Don't judge me on one game
Steve McManaman
Steve McManaman is on a high after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid
Steve McManaman has pleaded with England fans not to judge him on one performance in an expected free role against Ukraine at Wembley on Wednesday night.

The Real Madrid star is likely to be given the freedom to go wherever he likes in a role just behind the front two, but says he will play in any position England coach Kevin Keegan wants.

McManaman has struggled to impress in an England shirt but expectations are high following his outstanding recent displays, which helped Real win the Champions League.

But the former Liverpool player admits he "rarely gets carried away" with compliments or criticism.

He said: "I think the time to judge us individually and as a team is at Euro 2000 and not when there are certain changes getting made and different systems are getting played.

I want to play against Ukraine and I want to play fantastically

Steve McManaman

"Going into the Euro 2000 games, the team expect criticism if they do not perform well and expect praise if they do well.

"Saying that, I want to play against Ukraine and I want to play fantastically."

Keegan will revert to the three-man defensive formation used against Argentina in February in order to accomodate McManaman.

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard wins his first England cap
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard begins his full international career as Keegan hands him his first cap in the centre of midfield, while Anfield team-mate Robbie Fowler gets the chance to prove his fitness in a striking partnership with Alan Shearer.

Probable England team
Nigel Martyn
Martin Keown
Gareth Southgate
Sol Campbell
David Beckham
Phil Neville
Steven Gerrard
Paul Scholes
Steve McManaman
Alan Shearer
Robbie Fowler
The less rigid formation should also allow David Beckham more freedom to express himself and Keegan insisted: "We've got to get more ball to David.

"We want him on the ball giving crosses in open play. He's an exceptional player."

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See also:

30 May 00 | England
Wembley return for Macca
30 May 00 | England
England rest Owen and Wise
27 May 00 | The BBC Team
Hansen's verdict on England-Brazil
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