McClaren on brink of landing top job

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The Independent Football

The Football Association is understood to be days away from appointing Steve McClaren as the successor to Sven Goran Eriksson after the collapse of its approach to Luiz Felipe Scolari.

The FA chief executive, Brian Barwick, and his four colleagues charged with finding the new manager had long settled upon McClaren as the first alternative to Scolari. Barwick had called McClaren, Sam Allardyce, Martin O'Neill and Alan Curbishley on Friday to apologise that the choice of Scolari had been leaked and to tell them that no contract had been signed. Hours later, after Scolari made his announcement live on television that he was no longer interested in taking the England job, Barwick called all four candidates and told them they were back in the frame.

McClaren was hit yesterday with further tabloid revelations about his affair with a Boro employee, but it is understood that they are unlikely to affect his chances of landing the job.

Allardyce made one last bid for the job yesterday, saying: "I've always said right from the start, it's my dream job and I believe I'd be very good at doing it at this stage of my life."

Allardyce gave an insight into his tactics if he were to be appointed national boss.

He said: "If I had Peter Crouch up front at 6ft 7in then I'd play where his strength lies, like we do [with] Kevin Davies at Bolton. But if Michael Owen was playing up front I would play differently. The level playing field that I would be on - above most international teams with the quality players I've got - would mean we would go to outplay them and beat them.

"I don't play on a level playing field in the Premiership because my resources are fewer than most and I have an effective way with the group of players I've got. It's not long ball, it's never been long ball and it never will be."