Steve McClaren’s position as England head coach will be decided at an emergency board meeting of the Football Association on November 22 if the team fail to reach the finals of Euro 2008.
England’s last game of the qualifying campaign is against Croatia at Wembley on November 21 and the FA will act quickly because McClaren is scheduled fly to South Africa two days later to represent England at the 2010 World Cup draw.
He will name his squad today for the tie with Croatia and the friendly in Austria five days earlier. If Russia, England’s rivals for the second Group E slot behind Croatia, beat Israel on November 17, England”s hopes of qualifying for next year’s finals are effectively over.
“Nothing will happen before the Croatia game but it would be sensible if a quick decision was made afterwards,” an FA source told The Daily Telegraph.
Speculation about his future is rife but the FA remain hopeful that Israell can do England a favour. “It’s one of the questions nobody wants to ask because we have to assume we can still qualify,” another FA source said.
“But some tough decisions will have to be made [if England don’t qualify]. The pressure will be on to make a statement about Steve’s future. There are rumblings he could still survive if we lost, but the reaction of the crowd at Wembley could come into play.”
Meanwhile, England’s assistant manager, Terry Venables, has urged the FA not to rush into any decision.
“If the FA is convinced it has someone better who will instantly transform us into World Cup winners then fine,” he said. “But it must make sure it comes to a decision for the right reasons not just because it seems right at one particular moment.
“We are not thinking about our futures. Whatever happens to me and Steve McClaren will happen. That is out of our hands but knee-jerk reactions will be a mistake in my view. Steve is quite bullish at the moment. When you have a chance of qualifying you have to be. We are concentrating on one thing only and that is beating Croatia.”