Manager quick to hail 'phenomenal' Terry for leading by example

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The Independent Football

Steve McClaren last night described his captain John Terry as the key figure in England's victory and said that his performance was exactly what he wanted from David Beckham's successor.

McClaren said: "John leads by example and he did that. I'm delighted for him that he won his first away game as captain. His partnership with Rio Ferdinand was phenomenal, it had to be."

McClaren said that Macedonia's resilience was "just what he expected" and added that it had been a test for England's team spirit. McClaren said: "This was a test of the team and the team came through. Teams win football matches away from home in Europe because they play as a team. Defensively we were magnificent and deprived Macedonia of clear-cut chances and then we seized our defining moment.

"They played just as we expected. We knew we would have to defend and we needed to score a second goal. But that didn't happen but we stood strong and got a result."

Asked whether they should have won by a more convincing scoreline, he said: "Whether we are England or whoever, winning football matches is the most important thing. We've been criticised for our second-half performances so we wanted to start well and we did that with Peter Crouch's goal. It really was a team effort that kept Macedonia out. Maybe with better-quality finishing we would have got the second goal and killed the game."