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Venables urged McClaren to throw on Man Utd's Hargreaves

At 2-2, Terry Venables urged sacked England boss Steve McClaren to throw on Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves against Croatia, it has been revealed.

The Daily Mail says within seconds of Peter Crouch's equalising goal in Wednesday's Euro 2008 qualifier, McClaren's No2 suggested introducing Hargreaves from the substitutes' bench.

Venables believed that, with the score at 2-2, England were through to the European finals and the presence of Hargreaves in a holding role in front of a defence might protect the single point that would have ensured qualification.

But Hargreaves was left unused as, instead, McClaren emerged from under his umbrella to instruct half-time substitute Jermain Defoe to play a deeper role. Crouch's equaliser came in the 65th minute and the priority for the 25 minutes that remained was simply to hold on to the point.

Afterwards, McClaren said that he was about to put on Hargreaves when Mladen Petric, unchallenged in yards of space, scored the winner that knocked England out and cost the manager his job. The decisive goal came 12 minutes after Crouch had equalised.

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