Derek Davis' Championship Chatter

PETER Taylor's England Under-21s are in Germany tonight holding a one-goal advantage as they seek to go into the European Championship finals.Should they go through, as expected, then there is a very good chance that Taylor will not be the one in charge next summer in the finals.

PETER Taylor's England Under-21s are in Germany tonight holding a one-goal advantage as they seek to go into the European Championship finals.

Should they go through, as expected, then there is a very good chance that Taylor will not be the one in charge next summer in the finals.

Steve McClaren has decreed that he wants a full-time manager in charge of the Under-21s and Taylor, the Crystal Palace manager, has made it clear he wants to continue in club management.

But what exactly would a full-time England Under-21 manager do?

There are already scouts who monitor players, with many playing in the Championship for Taylor to keep tabs on at first hand, and the wonders of television mean he is kept up to date with how anyone on the radar is getting on.

The important part of his job is ensuring that the side prepares in the best way possible in the short time allowed to win matches - and Taylor has a pretty impressive record in that.

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The players have spoken out against plans to give the job to someone else, that is, if the FA can find someone to take it.

McClaren has yet to convince many he is the right man for his particular job, even after five years as the No. 2.

He still managed to put out a team against Macdeonia that didn't look as if they knew each other and could not beat a team who are not even in the top 50-ranked FIFA sides.

For John Terry, his captain, to say it was just a bad day at the office is appalling. If he was actually in an office five or six days a week then you can understand them having a bad day. But when they only turn up for international duty once or twice in three months you expect them not to have a bad day.

They are the crème de la crème in this country. They are among the best-paid players in the world, with among the best facilities and among the best supporters.

But the truth is they are not the best players individually or as a team - Northern Ireland showed them that and unless they are managed in the right way, we are not going to get the right results when they matter.

It is one thing to knock five past Andorra or Jamaica, quite another against a team of players who are technically superior, better motivated and better organised.

McClaren's methods and motivation will be tested tomorrow when England go to Croatia, a team that given the rankings England should still beat - but it is by no means a certainty.

Even if they lose England will still be favourites to eventually go through to the finals in the summer of 2008, with McClaren at the helm.

It is a shame Taylor is not afforded such a luxury.

IT appears black is the new black when it comes to Ipswich Town shirts. All 2,000 put up for sale were snapped up within hours on Saturday and already some are on e-bay.

A replica Billy Clarke shirt was last night up to £92.50 on the auction site but has some way to go before reaching the £425 made by some enterprising soul who put up a signed Nicky Forster shirt on QXL a couple of weeks before the bulk went up for general sale.

MY thanks to Bernie Sanderson, who e-mailed in response to my piece in the Chatter last week about players or managers taking matters into their own hands after being abused by fans.

He tells me Aleksandr Shirko, who plays for Russian whipping boys FC Shinnik Yaroslavl, dished out his own version of Iron Curtain rule. Bottom club Shinnik were walloped 6-1 at home by Rostov and the players endured plenty of abuse throughout the match from their own fans.

Shirko obviously took more offence than most and after the match, waded into the crowd to sort out a few of the dirt-dishers.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of our www.grassrootscoaching.com competition - Julian King, who nominated Woodbridge Town ladies Under-13s; David Stevens, manager of Walsham le Willows Under-12s; and Carl Page, treasurer of Saxmundham Sports FC.

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