Hiddink plans changes in team to face England

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LONDON, Sep 11 (Reuters) Russia coach Guus Hiddink hinted today that he would make some changes to his line-up for the crucial Group E qualifier against England despite his side's convincing 3-0 home victory over Macedonia last Saturday.

''We are going to make a few changes simply because we are playing a different opponent,'' the Dutchman told a news conference in St Albans, north of London, today.

''But we're not looking just to defend, we will try to play the attacking game tomorrow.'' Hiddink added that CSKA Moscow winger Yuri Zhirkov, who missed the match against Macedonia with muscle spasms, had recovered and would be available for selection.

However, Nuremberg striker Ivan Saenko, who sprained his ankle in training last week, was still feeling the effects of his injury and would not play.

''He still has pain in his ankle, so I don't think he'll play,'' said the Dutchman, who also revealed he had no regrets about not becoming England manager last year.

ENGLAND APPROACH Hiddink, 60, was touted as a possible successor to Sven-Goran Eriksson after the World Cup finals but said that, while an initial approach was made by the English FA, he was already involved with the Russian FA.

''There was a slight approach but I was already in contact with the Russians,'' he told a news conference.

''I hadn't signed a contract with them but I had given them my word and I always stick to my word. I dont regret it.'' The job eventually went to Steve McClaren, who said today he had the highest respect for Hiddink.

''With what he has experienced and with his achievements, he is up there with the very best coaches in the game,'' McClaren told reporters today.

Russia head to Wembley one point and one place ahead of England in Group E. The two teams meet again in Moscow next month.

Reuters RAR DB2351

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