The Daily Mail is reporting that if Steve McClaren’s England reign he will be replaced by Martin O’Neill, with his Randy Lerner’s blessing, whilst an unnamed insider with access to the Special One apparently says that Mourinho has no interest in the England job. In other matters, news is seeping out of unnamed sources that Steve McClaren’s tactics against Russia were nearly as shockingly inept as Avram Grant’s dressing room declaration to his Chelsea boys that they were going to play 4-4-1.
FA chief executive Brian Barwick has been salivating over the delicious idea of bringing in O’Neill well before McClaren was appointed, but others in the FA didn’t like the idea of the Ulsterman taking over. All it has taken is a bungled mess of a campaign by Steve McClaren to firmly change their minds. Barwick was seen swanning around with Steve McClaren and Prince William yesterday, and he gave a damp squib of a defence of the England manager. Barwick may as well have been reading from a script entitled “how to cover you arse and look supportive when really eyeing up someone else” when he said:
“Let’s keep ‘crisis’ in perspective. Steve’s job is to make sure he gets his players ready for the Croatia game and the Austria friendly before it.Steve has our support, of course, and the reality of it is we do now need help from other teams. If Israel can take some type of result out of Russia, then we have got our job to do against Croatia.”
Steve McClaren, whilst getting everyones juices going for a repeat of Istanbul and Rome with some Dunkirk, Dambusters and D-Day thown in for good measure, was actually bricking it against the Russians and set out to play for a draw. The Daily Mail’s Matt Lawton gleefully tells us that: “Players were astonished when McClaren told his full-backs, Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott, that they were not allowed to advance into their opponents’ half. Not only that, he also told wingers Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips to approach the game in a more defensive manner.”
So what is next for England? Well if they don’t qualify, the FA are set to lose up to Â£12.5million in lost revenue and compensation to ginger goon Steve McClaren. There had been talk of a summer tour of the US to re-fill the FA coffers, oh joy.