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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 06:38 GMT 07:38 UK
McClaren must ride out storm

Graham Taylor
Graham Taylor
Former England manager and Five Live summariser

No result that England can get against Andorra will take the pressure off Steve McClaren.

If England beat them and play well it will help the mood of the team and the mood of the manager and his staff - but it will not do anything to stop the media attacking McClaren.

England manager Steve McClaren
I always make the assumption that the manager is doing what he believes to be right and I just hope that is the case with McClaren

There is a section of the press that are after his head following England's recent results but I think they are wrong. I don't think it is right to encourage the Football Association to dismiss the England manager after seven games.

We are hearing cries to sack McClaren but without any mention of who should take his place.

Everybody has the right to express an opinion but there is a difference between doing that and just criticising for the sake of it.

The next two games for McClaren and England - Andorra and Estonia - are easy.

So the heat will stay on him until we come to the run-in in September - the games home and away against Russia and the final game against Croatia. Then we will know whether we have qualified or not.

But McClaren should definitely stay in his job until the end of the qualifying campaign and the FA should avoid falling into the mentality of hiring and firing managers like clubs do.

The three most successful England managers are the three who were in the position the longest and they are Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Bobby Robson and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

They stayed in their jobs and got through the rough times when people were calling for their heads.

Robson failed to qualify for his first tournament finals, the 1984 European Championships. He was not dismissed but he even he admits he could have lost his job right at the start of his time in charge.

But he was kept on and we reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup.

It was the same for him in 1988 when England put in three dismal performances in the European Championship finals in Germany. Again he kept his job and we had the glory and the heartbreak of losing the 1990 World Cup semi-final to West Germany.

I am not saying Steve McClaren is going to be in the job for as long as Robson - in this day and age it is unlikely any manager would be.

But we still have a chance of qualifying for Euro 2008 and, if he is dismissed, would whoever the FA bring in to replace him be able to guarantee us qualification? No.

I feel the players have to be accountable in some way for the performance against Israel that has brought McClaren so much criticism.

Graham Taylor substituted Gary Lineker during England's defeat by Sweden in Euro 92
My gut feeling in the Sweden game was that I should sub Gary Lineker who was the captain - it went wrong for me

But I still think he missed a big opportunity there.

If he had gone in at half-time and said what he felt then - and got a reaction from the team that led to us winning the game - the media have got to say he sorted things out.

He could also have tried to turn things around with a change in tactics or with his substitutions.

I think he had to make changes after 15 minutes of the second half - and he didn't.

With the game continuing the way it did, I would certainly have made two substitutions at the same time and I probably would have made all three at once.

That gives the message out to the fans and your players on the pitch that you are unhappy with what is going on.

McClaren did not do that but he still did what he believed was right to get his side a win. You have to go with your gut feeling otherwise you are in trouble.

That does not mean you are going to be a success though. Look at what happened to me all those years ago during the 1992 European Championships.

My gut feeling in the Sweden game was that I should take off Gary Lineker who was the captain. It went wrong for me because we were 1-0 up at half-time but we lost 2-1, were knocked out and of course everyone came down on me.

Now I smile to myself when people say McClaren - and Eriksson before him - aren't prepared to substitute big name players.

I always make the assumption that the manager is doing what he believes to be right and I just hope that is the case with McClaren.


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