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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Steve McClaren You Berk!

Not only has the England manager decided to go one up front - and that one is Peter Crouch - he has also opted for Phil Neville over Gareth Barry in the left-back role.

McClaren will claim the five man midfield is an attacking formation but we all know it rarely works out that way and I've also got to ask, how does Shaun Wright-Phillips get a starting place when he can't start for his club side?

England: Ben Foster (Watford); Gary Neville (Man Utd), Phil Neville (Everton), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough); Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, captain), Michael Carrick (Man Utd), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Kieran Dyer (Newcastle); Peter Crouch (Liverpool).

Just brilliant - a special thank you to the FA for selecting yet another fantastic England manager for us.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 6 2007

Time: 4:15PM

Your Comments

Not overlly negative. Sure, no Barry, but what about Fossie in goal? That's not a bad move. And at least the captain is better than the usual knuckle-dragger.
NeilBaker
McClaren is rubbish and i wish he would improve fast. It's reasonably obvious that the best candidate for the England job is now managing villa!
andrew144
England's best goalkeepers are, ironically, both playing for relegation threatened sides. Carson and Foster are the 2 best at the mo', although it wasn't so long ago that your goalies came from the Championship, wasn't it Walker & James or something ? When they were down there. Anyhoo, back to Barry, seemingly McClaren has said he would prefer to see Barry in his primary role as a left sided midfielder. So we'll definitely see him at some stage. I'd rather he start at left back then move up to left mid when someone else is replaced.
BOF
isnt phil neville playing a central midfield holding role at everton...if thats the case then mcclaren is a bigger plonker than first thought.
JASON
Don't understand it. I know people say Barry lacks pace, but to prefer a right footed chuckle brother at left back instead of a natural left footed player begs a question. What was the point of calling Barry up? I'm going to the game tomorrow night, but now feel very disappointed. One forward at home is nonsense.
Gordonsleftboot
The man's a tool!! Foster's a good shout as he's untried and it's the perfect oppourtunity for him (plus McClaren's old mate Fergie has told him to start him) but surely it makes a lot more sense to start Barry who's been excellent at left back AND left mid this season at left back and move him forward if he wants. Phil Neville is no long term solution to any problem and won't be going to any future tournaments, whereas BArry may. Anyone remember the last time the Neville Bros played together? Romania, we lost, Phil gave away a penalty. Joy. What a twit.
claret&blue82
It's no surprise that he has chosen the brothers grim. Richards should be at right back and he should have started with Barry at left back. We already know about steptoe. He somehow has fifty plus caps.
weller77
Stevie Mac is a joke how he can justify half of what he does I'll never know. David Bentley is doing exactly what is asked of him yet he still gets overlooked because he is playing for Blackburn whereas Wright-Phillips can rarely even get into the Chelsea side yet he plays instead. Phil Neville over Gareth Barry?!?! This clearly makes sense doesn't it!!! It's a friendly for christ sakes Stevie Mac, you use these to bring in new players and give them ago, if he doesn't know what his "core players" or should I say "favourites" can't do by now he never will! Stevie Mac you are a laughing stock our opponents don't fear you they laugh at you! The man you have at Villa is the man that SHOULD be leading England as we speak.
Hughes Da Man
See my previous post in the Barry column a few hours past. McClaren = *******.
505anthony
What else do you honestly expect of McClaren? He wasn't even third choice for the job... They wanted Scolari, but the fecked that up, then they were considering Harry, but they got wind of the Bung allegations ahead of the story going "live", and they were rumoured to be more interested in someone else ahead of McClaren (Maybe our MON, maybe Allardyce - but ditto bung allegations). McClaren is nothing more than a bad manager's number two. Our FA is incompetent to hire him in the first place.
The Usual Suspect
McClaren is a joke. The F.A should have severed all ties with previous regime. It makes me wanna puke!
weller77
5 across the midfield is negative as far as I can see Neil, never works for England, we are much better playing the traditional 4-4-2. Hope he proves everyone wrong but I think McClaren is a good number 2 and coach.
The Fear
He's an tW@ that's for sure. A proper wanchor - get it??? Anyhow, it's the Man U and Boro connection. Any team with the movement of Spain will destroy Steptoe. Barry is a better mover on and off the ball where as Steptoe is a 'hoof it' merchant. Any bets for the amount of time he gets his head down and smashes the ball past midfield in the hope of it reaching the front two - whereby it will be intercepted by Spains ace defense then throughballed to Torres to slip past Foster while the worlds press castigate the poor Watford keeper for having a bad debut?!?!?!?!?! Mark my words....
koolbill
koolbill - wise words indeed. Let's hope they don't come true but it doesn't look good. I just give up. Where is Nolan? Where is Bentley? Even Pennent is having a good season. And is Crouch all we have - really? Of s**t we are in big trouble.
CLVilla
Barry will have his time if he keeps playing well. I'd hate to think he didnt get a chance but then again I like the fact he tries really hard to get recognised thus being a better player for us. Twisted logic!
spit-fire
At least he won't get injured:-(
Gazvilla
Friendly games are about trying out NEW ideas. Now even McLaren must know how Chuckle2 plays. He has the ready made article there ready and willing to play. This is pure Svennis at his worst.
Denis_B
Doesnt he ever learn??!! Lampard and Gerrard DO NOT work together in the midfield. Remember the World Cup anyone? You were there Steve. Phil Neville at Left Back?? Do we not know all we need to know about Phil Neville? Arent friendlies all about trying out new options? Why oh why isnt Gareth Barry starting? Why did you pick him in the squad Steve? No Ashley Cole. No Wayne Bridge. So we turn to .. Phil Neville. That must be because he plays left back for Everton! Except he usually plays on the right for Everton. And hes no spring chicken. And hes not very good. Oh God why are you doing this Steve? Is Dyer playing upfront with Crouch? If so, why? Hes an excellent player but not a proven striker. I appreciate we have injuries in this area (Rooney, Owen, Bent, Ashton) but Defoe must be a bit annoyed (is he injured as well?). If Dyer is playing in a five man midfield why are we playing at home with only one striker? Why are we tinkering with 4-5-1 again? We know it doesnt work for us. Will Dyer be on the right alongside Wright-Phillips? Hows that gonna work? Explain Steve. Just give us a clue. Go on. Please. Rant over. What do I know? Well probably win 4-0. One each for Dyer, Lampard, Gerrard and Phil Neville.
VillaYamYam
This just defies logic. The most in form left sided English born footballer in the country, yet he cant break into the national side. Whats he planning to do? Put Gareth on with 10-15 miutes to go, possibly at left back or in midfield maybe? Why the hell even make the token gesture of including GB in the squad in the first place, he clearly had no intention of giving Gareth an opportunity. And dont even start me on this playing with one striker crap.
glensider
How can I put this politely? McClaren you are a ******* ****** ******!!!
Rickymeister
What to McClaren anf Tony Blair have in Common? they take cash for things. Cash for Honors with Blair and Cash for call ups and Starts with McClaren
Christo
do you know what - i hope we get f@cking dicked 4-0. I'm england through and through, but would certainly forfit a friendly 9-0 if it lead to McClaren getting sacked and the FA waking up. I am quickly losing interest in the national team with this**** in charge, its not THE England team because the deserving team dont get picked.
edgley_1957
I've seen other people on other sites say " give McClaren a chance " and I dont see why as he was part of the last failed regime, to my mind he is a sven clone with the same failed logic of choosing his favourites regardless of form, tactical instructions, position and plan B in the vain hope of one day it will all go right. We may win tomorrow and he'll be hailed as a genius but as Spain are playing even worse than us and are unlikely to qualify for the Europeans it'll prove nothing. I feel sorry for Barry hitting his head against a brick wall 10 - 1 that however well he plays even if he comes on even if he scores a hatrick bringing and winning the game 3-2 if everyone is fit for the next international he wont even get on the bench. Ashley Cole is bound to waltz back into the side and he wont break up the hallowed Gerrard - Lampard partnership. I could swear and shout but whats the point. As maccarone said only in England ..........
Barabus
what a joke,this man is as bad as sven,honestly like how could that have happened?phil neville mclaren you are having an absolute laugh,what sort of a left foot has he got,shouldnt even be in the squad,for ***** sake he is 31 or 32 as well. would not lace gareths boots!
Belfast Villain
McLaren is a worse England manager than Ericson. In fact he's the worst England manager that I can remember and I can go back almost 50 years. He hasn't got a clue and should be drummed out of the job. Give it to big Sam, he's earned it!
villacross
If mclaren was brazilian and born 50 years ago we would not have heard of pele. I think the criteria for playing for england has to be being able to run with your mouth open and tongue hanging out, being hit with the ugly stick and playing completely out of position. I am livid. Shame is Pearce is just as bad.
morky13villa
carson is awful, playin crap 2night for under 21's , i think barry will come on at half time and help change the game lol
meakers
I know its nice not to lose, but its nicer to win. Ginger tawt is looking at his stats since taking over from Some gormless Erik and they dont make stunning reading, so to counter this he will do all he can to avoid losing and making him-self look a worse manager than he is. Spain to have 60-40 posession and to win a nothing game. Alas I have said all along his afair with Gareth Barry will be fleeting.
col8
My big fear about MON at Villa is that many fans have gone overboard with their praise and that is usually followed with abuse when the aspirations of these fans is not met. At least McClaren has no such worries - he has got the abuse from the start. Not his fault though but the FA who appointed such an average manager, who has neither the football brain or knowledge required.
pongo wearing
Barton should be playing and Reo Coker in my opinion. Give us some defensive steel and pace in midfield. The Neville decision is atrocious. Also Carrick to be honest.
tarzan
Please Steve McClaren - this lad will not let you down! If not for the Villa faithful - for the sake of the nation - make wholesale changes at H/T and give our Gareth 45mins at least!! Otherwise what is the point of selecting GB into the squad if in your eyes he's 4th choice LB behind A Cole, W Bridge and P Neville, and 4th chioce Wide Left behind J Cole, S Downing and F Lampard - where is your logic - has the world gone mad or just SM? Macca - YOU'RE A TOOL!
bazzah
Just where is the balance in that side? 2 right footed players playing on the left.... I wouldn't want England to get beat, but would love the left side to get dicked on!.... that until Barry comes on (if he gets to come on)??
bazzah
Simple Mr Mclaren,Barry is the 2nd best English left back next to A.Cole and arguably the best left Midfielder ( Downing and J.Cole ? ) but if you are too blinkered then it will bite you on the bum,don`t just pick names-pick a flipping system that you can mould the players at your disposal into,the team he`s organised for tomorrow looks clueless ( Gareth,you may be better out of it )The David Platt scenario returns !!
ASPINALL
is neville in the side because him and McClaren were pally pally at United?
Christo
I said McClaren was the wrong man for the job when he was appointed (in hindsight this was good for the Villa as MON may not be here now) and this lack of invention or willingness to adopt new idea's (isn't that what friendlies are for?) will be his eventual downfall. I've seen some rather high scoring predictions posted in these comments but the way he is setting up his formation the greater likelihood is only a single goal to win the match.
Equatorialvilla
I hope we get a right good stuffing like 15-0 or summit, a proper humiliaton and the tufty, red faced gimp gets the heave ho, he's a disater waiting to happen, can anyone see us winning dick with McLaren? Its all like a horrible joke, of all the names that were bandied about and we ended up with this, I can't believe I'm not swearing!!
nikolaijns
Would not surprise me If Barry doe's not get a run out he turns his back on England for ever. I just hope any disapointment is he has is channelled into more stunning performances for Villa.
col8
To be honest, while this man is at the helm, I really couldn't give a flying football about the national team.
Beovilla
its going to be a very tough game tonight, if we want to win cups we shouls beat spain
green giant 12
It's pathetic! I mean Phil Neville plays an anchor role for everton whereas Barry is a natural left sided player playing on top form! what's Mcclarens problem? I can only think they will each get a half? If Joaquin is playing Barry will have a tough task!
seanking16
Shouldve stayed at middlesborough.
AussieVilla
shouldve stayed in ******** bed
edgley_1957
neville has been shaggin McClaren again!!
samtozer
McClaren obviously see's Barry for what he is, a strong, imposing but lacking technique left back. Probably not good enough to be playing the likes of spain where world lass players would tear him to shreds unlike the easy games he enjoys against likes of watford, charlton and the ilk. Neville has at least got plenty of european experience from playing against the best in champs league etc. If Barry wants taken seriously then he should try his hand at a bigger club that get into europe regularly.
LARSSON*7*CFC
Like to give a big shout out to my mate The Belfast Bum Villain :)
LARSSON*7*CFC
Interesting article just posted on the BBC web site suggesting both the inclusion of Barry and Young in the full team http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/6338427.stm
tarzan
Same old story - if you don't play for a team in London or in red, then you're not getting in the first eleven. Unless you're Phil Neville, who worked alongside McClaren at....that's right, Manchester United! Just another in a long line of managers who pick household names ahead of players who are busting a gut to try and impress in the hope of getting a foot in the door - I won't be watching the game tonight but I hope we get absolutely battered, leaving the FA to realise what an absolute numpty McClaren is and show him the door.
jeffg_utv
Yes yes yes yes. He's on. Now show everyone what England have been missing.
CLVilla
 

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