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I'm the proudest man in England, says McClaren

By Staff
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LONDON, May 4 (Reuters) Steve McClaren said he was the proudest man in the country after being named as the next England manager today.

The Middlesbrough manager and assistant to current England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson signed a four-year contract which starts on Aug.

1, after the World Cup finals.

''I've had many great moments in football in my career but that has to be the greatest - I'm very, very proud,'' he told a news conference at the FA's headquarters.

''I've got the experience, I've got the knowledge, I like a challenge and this is one of the biggest challenges in my career.'' McClaren said he was unconcerned about the drawn-out selection process, and that he was apparently the FA's second choice behind Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari.

FA head Brian Barwick said at the same news conference on Thursday that Scolari had never been offered the job.

''I am only interested in the outcome and the outcome is that I am the proudest man in England today,'' McClaren said.

''I don't see it as first choice or second choice. I am the FA's choice and I sit here as England coach.'' McClaren was full of praise for the Swede.

''Sven has done a fantastic job, I've learned so much from him in the last five years.

''I don't expect to be on the back foot after Germany. I'm expecting a good World Cup. We have some fantastic players who are maturing not just for this World Cup but the 2008 European championship and the next World Cup.

''I believe we have a squad capable of winning a major trophy, they are young enough and experienced enough.

''If it was a job needing sweeping changes, a team that needed redeveloping, then it would be a major job. But what Sven has done over the last five years is develop these youngsters, give them the experience and now we are ready to win a trophy.'' McClaren's first game in charge will be an Aug. 16 friendly against European champions Greece at Old Trafford.

His initial main task as head coach will be to guide England through the qualifying campaign for the 2008 European championship, the finals of which are in Austria and Switzerland.

REUTERS PM RN2145

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