McClaren opens door to duo
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
England boss Steve McClaren has given hope to David James and Sol Campbell.
England boss Steve McClaren has assured Portsmouth duo David James and Sol Campbell that they are still very much in his plans.
Both men have impressed at club level this season but have yet to be selected by McClaren, and have again been overlooked for Wednesday's friendly in Spain.
But McClaren insists: "I would have no hesitation calling either David James or Sol Campbell into the squad.
"I saw them both play for Portsmouth at Manchester United last week and Sol in particular was outstanding.
"I know David has had a great season too and is one of the main reasons why Portsmouth have climbed so high in the table.
"The door is not closed on them by any means. I am keeping a very close eye on them but this is a friendly, and I want to use it to have a look at other things."
McClaren has opted to recall several players to the international fold for the clash against Spain, and he has confirmed that Jonathan Woodgate is in line to start the game.
He explained: "Jonathan Woodgate has a very good chance of playing.
"There are some players you bring into a squad because you want to see them train and others because you want to see them play. Jonathan falls into the latter category.
"He has a proven pedigree at international level and I wanted to get him involved again and after three years in the wilderness, I am delighted to have him back."
McClaren, who has been impressed by Woodgate's performances for Middlesbrough this season, added: "It was a great decision of Jonathan's to come back to the Premiership.
"He offers us something different because he can bring the ball out of defence and create, which is what you need at international level."
Stuart Pearce's appointment as England Under 21 manager has hogged the headlines for the past week, with speculation rife as to whether he will be able to cope with the responsibility of leading the country's young lions while he is still in charge of a Premiership club.
And the wrangle over Pearce's release has reinforced McClaren's belief that the England Under 21 job should be full-time.
"I am delighted Stuart has taken over in the short term," said McClaren.
"You need people involved with England who epitomise England and no-one does that more than him.
"But ultimately, because of the way things have gone, I think we can see it is a full-time job, which is what I have been championing all along.
"Coaching the England Under 21 side is a very big and important job and it should be done by somebody capable of having a long-term input into the development of younger players."