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McClaren: I can handle England pressure

England boss Steve McClaren insists he doesn't feel the pressure of expectation from the nation.

Having roared back into contention for a place at Euro 2008 thanks to successive three-goal wins over Israel and Russia, McClaren's men must now beat Estonia at Wembley on Saturday week, then avoid defeat on a synthetic surface in Moscow to keep the issue in their own hands heading into the final game against Croatia next month.

While Estonia should be beaten comfortably, Russia represent an entirely different challenge, no matter how poorly they performed at Wembley in September.

Indeed, the margins are so tight for McClaren that defeat could ultimately prove fatal, not just for England's qualification hopes but also his own long-term job prospects.

Not that the former Middlesbrough boss is allowing any thoughts of failure to enter his mind as he ponders the squad he will unveil on Friday.

He said: "It does not matter what level you are at, there is big pressure in football management.

"But I could be managing York City, Middlesbrough or England and I would still put pressure on myself to deliver and be the best that I could be.

"The most pressure is always internal rather than external. External pressure is what you want to make it."

He added: "The pressure is starting to rise now, it will peak during the two games and then for three or four days afterwards.

"At club level it is constant 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you have delivered in one game, you have to deliver in another.

"It is not like that in international football.

"But the key difference is the environment is smaller. With a club you are only influencing a region or a set of supporters. With England you are talking millions."

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Tribal Football Staff

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