Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

JURY STILL OUT ON NcCLAREN; Fans Not Convinced He Is the Right Man

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

JURY STILL OUT ON NcCLAREN; Fans Not Convinced He Is the Right Man

Article excerpt

Byline: RAOUL SIMONS

ENGLAND v SPAIN Live on BBC1 from 7.30pm (KO: 8pm)

STEVE McCLAREN needs a victory over Spain tonight to gain the confidence of London's England fans.

That's the stark conclusion drawn from a survey of the capital's national team supporters.

It reveals that the head coach is yet to convince fans he is the right man to lead the national team, his players are failing to show enough passion and that Arsenal have the most patriotic set of supporters.

More than 1,400 fans of the city's clubs were quizzed, ahead the Old Trafford friendly, by pollsters Football Fans Census Ltd on England's present plight and the results make grim reading for the former Middlesbrough boss.

McClaren, 45, has lost only once in six matches since succeeding Sven Goran Eriksson in August, but his side have struggled in the games that matter.

The 2-0 defeat in Croatia following on from the 0-0 home draw with Macedonia has left England in deep trouble in Euro 2008 qualification Group E and London's England faithful are not impressed.

Asked to assess McClaren's overall performance, only 10 per cent described it as "good", compared to an alarming 46 per cent who termed it "poor" or "very poor".

Not one fan said that he was doing an "excellent" job as England boss!

Shortly after taking the job in August last year, McClaren boldly declared: "I'm going to do it my own way. I will be judged on what I do."

So far that judgment has been a harsh one, but at least he can take heart from the fact his approval rating has not yet sunk as low as predecessor Eriksson.

Only 17 per cent would favour the return of the Swede to the England hotseat despite his formidable record in qualifying for major tournaments.

The jury may still be out on McClaren's management but he is not alone in being blamed for the national side's problems. …

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