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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 November 2007, 07:53 GMT
I will not quit, insists McClaren
England manager Steve McClaren
McClaren is determined to carry on as England coach
Steve McClaren says he is still the right man to lead England - even if his team fails to qualify for Euro 2008.

England's hopes were dented with a 2-1 defeat in Russia last month and now rest on other results going their way in the remaining ties.

But McClaren said: "I believe I am the right man to take England forward.

"I love working with the team and I know they will go on to be successful. I have faith in them and belief in them and I want to go on."

McClaren added: "I understand why people are talking about my future. It is a viable debate, but one I cannot be part of."

The former Middlesbrough manager also believes he has been shown solid backing from his FA employers, including chief executive Brian Barwick, especially after the humiliating struggle against Andorra last March.

"They were supportive after Andorra and have been supportive all the way through," he said.

"I accept the first six or seven months after I came into the job were difficult.

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"We had to turn things around a little bit and build the confidence back up but we took quite a few hits along the way, none more so than the draw against Macedonia at home.

"But we have taken those hits and become stronger for them."

Crucially, McClaren also feels he has the support of his senior players and added: "As soon as they lose faith and belief, you are in trouble.

"But I do not believe that is the case. You know when a team is struggling and when they are not gelling. There is a great spirit and togetherness about this group."

However, McClaren knows his team must beat Croatia at Wembley on 21 November and hope Russia drop points in one of their two remaining games against Israel and Andorra, or for Macedonia to defeat Croatia, to still have a chance of reaching next year's finals.

Wayne Rooney
Rooney will be out of action for four weeks

But he is backing Israel not to throw in the towel against Russia in the Ramat Gan Stadium.

"Israel are a very proud nation and Tel Aviv is a tough place to go," he said.

"They have a great home record. They have lost once - to Croatia - in the last two qualifying competitions.

"The whole of Europe will be looking at that game. Israel have to perform and they know it."

McClaren's latest group of 26 has been reduced to 25 for the friendly against Austria on 16 November and against Croatia on the 21st given that Wayne Rooney has joined skipper John Terry on the injury list. Defender Rio Ferdinand is also suspended.

But the squad includes recalled former skipper David Beckham, whose experience McClaren feels could now be crucial against Croatia.

"I believe that with the likes of Ferdinand and Terry out of the squad we are lacking experience," McClaren said.

"We need those big players with experience and David is one of those."

SEE ALSO
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Benayoun urged to rescue England
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Wenger backs Walcott for England
24 Oct 07 |  Arsenal
Hiddink mocks England's tactics
21 Oct 07 |  Internationals


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