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Ferguson pledges to help England coach McClaren

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has leapt to the defence of England coach Steve McClaren and pledged to help him ride out criticism of his opening months in charge of the national team.

Ferguson supported McClaren's decision to play Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand for all 90 minutes of England's 1-1 draw in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

"It's always been an issue for club managers. We're all concerned about how they utilise players in friendly matches and how many they play," Ferguson told reporters.

"But in the case of Rooney and Carrick they are young lads. They can play three games a week. I think at this moment in time, Steve McClaren should get the help he deserves."

McClaren, who was assistant to Ferguson for a couple of years before becoming Middlesbrough manager in 2001, was criticised after England's Euro 2008 Group E qualifying defeat in Croatia last month. Ferguson believes the negativity was misplaced.

"He is getting a rough ride from the press, which is unfortunate. I don't know why, because he has only started the job. But, he will be all right," he said.

Meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed that American striker Freddy Adu, 17, will arrive in Manchester today to start a two-week trial.

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