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McClaren thrilled with England performance

Goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Michael Owen and Micah Richards gave England a 3-0 victory which boosts their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008.

And after seeing Emile Heskey and Gareth Barry also star in the best England performance of his 12 month reign McClaren said: "I'm delighted. It was important to win, I would have taken 1-0, I'm pleased with three but disappointed we did not score more but the performance was the icing on the cake. They played very well today.

"They made Israel look ordinary. I'm sure Russia will watch our video and not relish coming to Wembley on that performance.

"We made it a comfortable win against a difficult side. Russia will be as tough and we need the same performance. We've set a standard and have to do it again on Wednesday."

McClaren saw the display, which lifts his side to third place in Group E behind Croatia and Russia, as vindication of his faith in players who had filled the void cause by England's long list of injuries.

He insisted: "I said we had players in that dressing room who were good enough. The likes of Gareth Barry were excellent. So were Shaun Wright-Phillips and Emile Heskey coming in and doing the job we wanted him to do.

"Barry has quality and showed he could handle the stage, the big occasion.

"Emile makes defenders defend. No one likes playing against him. His attitude and work rate was the main thing. He and Michael Owen combined well and always have done.

"Emile has found a good home in Wigan. They treat him well. Players get opportunities and they have got to take it. Barry, Wright-Phillips and Heskey have done."

Owen's return to form was also a big positive and McClaren agreed that he could still break Sir Bobby Charlton's England goal-scoring record. The Newcastle striker's half-volley was his 38th for his country.

McClaren said: "It was a great goal today. I'm delighted for him. There has been a lot of criticism and pressure on him. Typical Michael Owen, he answers it with three goals in three games."

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Tribal Football Staff

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