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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 14:50 GMT
Neville feels McClaren must stay
Phil Neville
Neville wants to see McClaren given more time
Austria v England
Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna
Friday, 16 November
Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Live coverage: Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website
Highlights: BBC THREE (2230 GMT) & BBC TWO (0045 GMT)

England and Everton star Phil Neville says England coach Steve McClaren must be kept in the role, even if he fails to lead them to the Euro 2008 finals.

England have a crucial qualifier with Croatia on 21 November following a friendly against Austria on Friday.

Neville told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Stability and continuity is the best recipe for success and that means sticking with your manager.

"Arsenal, Man Utd and Everton have done it and now England should do it."

BBC Sport understands the Football Association will not decide on McClaren's future before the crunch tie with Croatia.

The FA's 12-man board - the body which will decide McClaren's fate - have a scheduled meeting on 29 November, but no plans are in place to discuss the issue beforehand.

"There is nothing in the diary until the 29th when the next scheduled board meeting is due to take place," an FA source told the Press Association.

If you win the players get the plaudits, and if you lose the manager gets slaughtered

Phil Neville

Neville, who has played 59 times for England, also called for changes in the national set-up as he feels the manager is currently in an impossible position.

He added: "I wouldn't wish the England manager's job on anyone at the moment.

"It's a no-win situation. If you win the players get the plaudits, and if you lose the manager gets slaughtered.

"Something has to be done because it's not a nice pressure to be working under."

Neville's comments come after Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard attempted to shift the blame for England's faltering Euro 2008 bid from McClaren to the players.

Steven Gerrard
Gerrard in action for England against Russia in Moscow

"It's important the players take a fair share of the criticism," Gerrard told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"We cross the white line and put in the performances, but we've been very inconsistent in the campaign."

McClaren's squad are currently second in Group E but Russia will qualify if they win their remaining two games against Israel and Andorra, while leaders Croatia need only one point from two games - they take on Macedonia on Saturday.

Former England caretaker manager Peter Taylor is another who believes McClaren should not be sacked, whatever the result.


"I've no doubt Steve's a better England boss now than when he first came into the job," Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Even if we didn't qualify, that doesn't mean it's right just to go and all of a sudden have another change."

BBC Radio 5 Live football correspondent Jonathan Legard has been told "there is no bloodlust" at the headquarters of the FA.

However, he added: "One FA official did admit it would be 'tin hat time' at Wembley on Wednesday week if results involving Russia and Croatia worked against England this weekend."

I think it will be a good score for Israel

Chelsea boss Avram Grant

Meanwhile, McClaren's predecessor Eriksson, now boss at Manchester City, and the Chelsea manager Avram Grant, both believe Israel will do England a favour, by denying Russia victory.

Eriksson confirmed: "I don't think Russia will win in Israel - they will draw or lose because the home record for Israel is very, very good.

"Don't think negative, England will qualify and that's it."

Grant added: "I think it will be a good score for Israel."

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