Date:Thursday February 1 2007
Steve McClaren has spoken exclusively to Portsmouth`s local newspaper "The News" regarding Gary O`Neil, Matthew Taylor, Sol Campbell and David James.
The England Manage said;
'I've identified a pool of talent of 50 players, and that includes the core 15 or 16 England players like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. And Gary O'Neil and Matt Taylor are in that group of 50, along with the likes of Kevin Nolan at Bolton and Joey Barton at Manchester City.
'Gary and Matt both played for the under-21s and have developed again since then.I like Gary O'Neil. When I was up at Middlesbrough I always kept a very close eye on him.
'And Matt Taylor has played well and forced his way through because there are not many true left-sided players to choose from in the game. If they are not in the squad tomorrow, it doesn't mean they never will be - that they have been neglected or forgotten. They are on the radar.'
When asked about Sol Campbell or David James been included in the England squad (which is named tomorrow) he said;
'It's difficult for me to confirm who will be in the squad. But since the World Cup, Sol has gone from being out of the reckoning to being back in it. And I know exactly what Jamo is capable of. Just like Sol, he's had a fantastic season.'
The News asked McClaren why he had not visited Fratton Park this season despite visiting most other clubs.
'I've got admit, my last visit to Fratton Park was last year - as Middlesbrough manager.
'So, now you've mentioned it, going to Portsmouth is something I want to address. I haven't been there this season, but I'm going to make sure I go there now for one of Portsmouth's remaining home games.
'I've seen Portsmouth away from home, and on television, but not Fratton Park. I spend most of my time looking at the core group of 15 or 16 England players.
'I do go to other games to see the other players pushing for inclusion, and the young ones emerging. I watch all the games on television, which is as good as being at a match. And I was at Portsmouth game at Old Trafford last Saturday.
'But going to Portsmouth - and Reading, where I also haven't been this season - is something I need to do. I think it's important to be visible, to actually go to Fratton Park.
'We've got to try to bring England closer to the clubs.'
'To get in the England squad, the Ports-mouth players have to be in form - but it has to last longer than a short period. They have to be performining consistently at a level that makes you think they can play international football
'Being an established England player is a couple of levels up from the Premiership. I don't think players realise that until they make the leap.
'It's not about a patch of form, but being consistent over a longer period of time.
'Players have to show potential. Then they have to start realising that potential. Then, they have to keep performing week-in, week-out, playing well on a consistent basis.
'We don't want players coming in and out of the squad. We want players who we believe can produce consistently.'
Will any Pompey players be in the England squad tomorrow? I expect a call up for Sol Campbell and David James tomorrow… although I won`t hold my breath!
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