McClaren Claims Adversity Helped Owen And Becks

Last updated : 10 June 2007 By Footy Mad - Editor
Beckham's performances against Estonia and Brazil have led to claims that McClaren was a fool to dump the winger the way he did. And without doubt, his return has transformed the England team.

But the England manager insists HE is reason the Real Madrid player is back to form.

McClaren: "You come across adversity and it's how you react - for example Michael Owen has reacted to his injury by coming back better. It's the in-born character and we need people like Michael and David, those type of characters.

"David has reacted exactly as I thought he would when that decision was made, he's taken a conscious effort and since the new year he has looked fitter, stronger.

"He knows what to do to maintain that standard. I always said what kind of reaction would you expect from David Beckham - exactly what we got. He's gone away and come back better, fitter and stronger, certainly the last two performances he has been excellent.

"I wouldn't change the decision [to leave him out], I felt it was correct at the time for everybody, the squad and the team. I wouldn't change my decision to bring him back either. I felt it was the right time, and if he had been fit for Andorra and Israel it might have been earlier - in October he wasn't in the Real Madrid side.

"I just know that what we are seeing now is David Beckham the player that everybody knows.

"Believe you me it doesn't matter whether you have the best talent in the world or the lowest talent in the world, in all walks of life, in business or in sport, it just becomes more evident and more plain in sport.

"It has taken a shock, both individually and as a team, to change things and that is what has happened.

"I said after the World Cup that the age of this group of players is still very young, 26, 27, 28 - and they are the peak years," said McClaren.

"I always believed that despite what happened in the World Cup and the disappointment that the core of the squad could still go on and do better things.

"I do believe there is a headache and a hangover after the World Cup and we have got better as we have gone along and the situation is now in our own hands.

"We still have very good players outside the squad to come back like Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves - you are talking about five players and what I'm pleased about is that there is great competition for places."