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Old 11th July 2006, 10:46   #1
Paul Brooks

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Default England try to woo Venables

England try to woo Venables
By : David Bond , 11/07/2006

Steve McClaren took the first significant step towards forming his England backroom staff yesterday when he met Terry Venables to try to persuade him to become his number two.

Although there are senior figures inside the Football Association opposed to the former England manager's return to the national team, chief executive Brian Barwick is determined to push the appointment through.

He is convinced it is the best way of removing opposition, particularly in the media, to McClaren's elevation to England manager following the bungled search for Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor before the World Cup.

While Venables is understood to be keen to get involved with the national team again, he is wary about going back to work for the FA after the bitter way his reign as England manager ended after Euro 96. At the time the FA refused to offer him a new contract amid fears that he would be distracted by a series of legal battles over his business affairs.

The head of the international committee 10 years ago, Noel White, is still the chairman responsible for the England team. But the England manager's coaching staff is a matter principally for Barwick, rather than the FA's many committees, and the former ITV head of sport has a close relationship with Venables, who still works as a football pundit for the broadcaster.

He has told concerned members of the FA board that he will be able to control Venables if he decides to return, but with the pressure already piling on Barwick following England's bitterly disappointing World Cup campaign, he knows it is a risky appointment.

As for Venables, sources close to the former England boss say he will only take the job if it is right for him. Although it has been known for some weeks that McClaren and the FA were interested in bringing Venables back into the England set-up, the exact role they have in mind was not made clear to him until yesterday.

There is also likely to be an issue over his salary. Following the largesse of the Eriksson era, the FA are under pressure to reduce the costs of the national team.

Venables will not come cheap and with McClaren on a package of £2.5million-a-year there are bound to be serious concerns about costs if Venables joins - especially if McClaren hires former England captain Alan Shearer as an assistant coach as well.

McClaren will not have failed to notice how critical Venables was of Eriksson's handling of England's World Cup campaign in his Sunday newspaper column.

One of the major challenges facing the former Middlesbrough manager when he takes over the job officially on Aug 1 is to distance himself from events in Germany.

McClaren is convinced bringing in Venables, who guided England to the semi-finals of Euro 96, will help give him credibility and allow him to draw on his years of coaching experience as he tries to rebuild the side.
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