McClaren won't rush Robinson decision

August 22, 2007

England coach Steve McClaren refused to rule Paul Robinson out of his European Championship plans despite another howler from the Tottenham goalkeeper.

Joachim Loew and Steve McClaren
GettyImages / MartinRoseJoachim Loew and Steve McClaren try to get their points across at Wembley

Robinson, whose air-shot blunder condemned England to defeat against Croatia last year, gifted Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi a first-half equaliser as England slumped to a 2-1 defeat, their first at the new Wembley.

Robinson was substituted at half-time with Portsmouth's David James taking over the goalkeeping gloves but McClaren said: 'I was disappointed with the way we conceded that goal. It may have been a mistake but there were two or three mistakes before that.

'I'm disappointed with the goals but this isn't a night to publicly state anything about the team in the future.

'I can't make any public comments about any of the `keepers or any of the outfield players.'

Frank Lampard, who had suffered abuse from England supporters in recent matches, gave England the lead after just nine minutes.

But once Kuranyi had cashed in on Robinson's mistake, England's defence again cracked to allow Christian Pander to score the winner for Germany with a 25-yard screamer.

McClaren said: 'In the first 20 minutes, until we let them back in the game we were excellent overall. We created chances and on another night would have tucked them away.'

He also backed Michael Owen, who has played just 20 minutes for Newcastle this season, to be match-sharp by the time the European Championship qualifiers against Israel and Russia come around next month.

Owen was replaced by Kieron Dyer and Alan Smith by Liverpool's Peter Crouch just before the hour mark and McClaren said: 'For Michael Owen that was his first start and against Germany at Wembley is a tough match to come into. In two or three weeks with games under his belt he will be sharper.

'That was an ideal game for us, tough and hard. For some of the players it was their fourth game in 10 days. I was delighted with the majority of the performance, we created chances. I was disappointed with the goals we conceded and disappointed that we didn't take more of the chances.

'We started the second half poorly and that's why we changed the front two. We livened things up and had a good spell but then we dipped again.'

Meanwhile, Germany coach Joachim Low was understandably delighted.

He said: 'There are very few places in the world where winning is such a good experience. My players are dancing happily in the dressing room.

'We decided to play Kevin Kuranyi as a lone striker and he was supported by excellent skills and intelligent players. Let me also single out Christian Pander.

'He had a very good performance and scored a lovely goal. For the first 20 minutes we showed too much respect to England, but the equaliser was a big help and we started to play with much more courage and in the end we dominated the game.

'We had little time to practise and train and playing at the new Wembley in front of 90,000 people we were a bit intimidated. But when we scored the equaliser my players said `hey, we can score goals here'.'

Low revealed that Chelsea's Michael Ballack will be back for the European Championship qualifier against Wales.

He said: 'The World Cup should have shown that we can win against the giants of football and we can hold our own against Europe's strong teams. Winning here is nice but what is really important is the next game and to qualify against Wales.

'Ballack will definitely be back for that. Winning here is a great experience but it is still a friendly. What really counts are the qualifiers. But I was pleased we avoided the stupid, unnecessary fouls. The players implemented that in exemplary fashion.'