1 Shunning David Beckham
McClaren was determined to become his own man after succeeding Sven. Dropping Becks was an easy way to signal this, but it was a case of cutting his nose off to spite his face. The former skipper clearly still had a part to play and Macca was forced to go crawling back.
2 Picking Scott Carson ahead of Paul Robinson
It wasn’t fair on Carson, it wasn’t fair on the fans and it wasn’t fair on Robinson (not that you lot can complain – you were all for it!). The 22-year-old froze under the considerable pressure last night.
3 Picking Paul Robinson up until last night
Robbo has been out of sorts for some time now. If there is any logic in persevering with him until the last game of qualifying before dropping him then I can’t see it. He should have been dropped long before last night, which would have given Carson time to bed in (or at least proven he wasn’t up to the job).
4 Working with Terry Venables
Yet another case of McClaren bowing to popular opinion, I suspect. They never seemed to have functioned as a team. There were rarely found to be bouncing ideas off each other in the dugout. Venables role seemed poorly defined and he was basically there as a figurehead for the good old days.
5 Three at the back against Croatia away
A woeful experiment which set the tone for this qualification campaign. England couldn’t get to grips with the new formation. You could argue that they ought to have been able to, but the manager should work with what he has got.
6 Taking the job in the first place
He knew he was second choice, he was still relatively young and he was building a decent side at Middlesbrough. Steve McClaren must now be wishing he had stuck with Boro and kept his pride in tact.
7 Playing Joleon Lescott at left-back against Russia
McClaren overlooked an experienced international in Phil Neville and an out-and-out left-back in Nicky Shorey to play Lescott against Russia. He was out of his depth and put in a really poor performance. At least Macca learnt from his mistakes, eh Robbo?
8 Sticking with the Frank Lampard/Steven Gerrard combo
He has broken this combination up occasionally (mainly through injury to one party) but never really found a solution. Wherever possible he has accommodated both into his side. Hopefully the new man will spot that they NEVER PERFORM WHEN THEY ARE PLAYING TOGETHER.
9 Getting his teeth whitened
Another example of a bloke who looks like he should drive coaches for a living trying to be a PR man’s dream. Square peg, round hole. His dental improvements simply opened him up to being lampooned even more.
10 Hiding under his umbrella
Having conceded two goals in 14 minutes, McClaren should have been on the touchline bawling and gesturing at his players instead of perfecting his Gene Kelly impression.
11 Pleading to be judged over 12 games
Macca might have thought this was a handy way to sidestep criticism, but in the end he wrote his own epitaph.