Date: 3rd October 2007 at 11:55am
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Looks like Gareth Barry has given Steve McClaren little choice but to use him in the Euro qualifier against Estonia next week. The Villa skippers chances are further enhanced by the fact that Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has been ruled out of a return.

The England boss said:

‘Gareth has done a great job for us and helped us win two big games. He formed a very good partnership with Steven Gerrard and he’s given me a selection problem.’

Nice problem to have, the understanding between him and Gerrard was there for all to see in the games against Russia and Israel and Barry looked more than a match for any player on the pitch.

McClaren added, ‘He’s waited for his opportunity, kept playing well for his club, gained experience and when the opportunity has arisen, he’s been ready and he’s taken it. I was not surprised at how well he responded. I saw bits of it when we called him into the squad last summer and when he played in the B international against Albania.’

‘I have seen it at club level in his performances and I have seen him in training, when he and Steven Gerrard look very, very comfortable. I had no hesitation in playing them together. They regard each other as good friends and it shows. They play together like good friends. They are good for each other. When you look at teams, you have pairings – and they have to be good pairings.’