STEVE McCLAREN'S decision to ditch skipper David Beckham in such a brutal manner has won support inside the England dressing room.
A senior player said: "There has been talk for months among the players about how the next manager would deal with the Beckham situation.
"The players knew David was all-powerful. We all agreed dealing with Becks was the toughest call for the new boss. Steve McClaren seems to have listened to the players' concerns and decided this is what they want him to do."
The England World Cup star added: "Becks had too much influence on Sven Goran Eriksson. If he wanted to go out for dinner from the team hotel we went out. On one occasion we all thought we were going out and were then told we were staying in the team hotel.
"When we asked why the plan had changed it was because David wanted to stay in.
"If David wanted the time of training to change from morning to afternoon it would be changed. The rest of us never got the choice."
While Eriksson and his staff would make the final call, the players knew how the decision was reached.
"Sven relied on a hierarchy of players," added the England insider. "He would turn to the likes of Michael Owen, Gary Neville and latterly John Terry - but Becks was by far the most influential.
"Unfortunately, Sven hardly spoke to the rest of the players. We were just left to get on with our jobs. If Steve is getting rid of that exclusive inner circle it will be to everybody's benefit."
But the England star refused to castigate Beckham for his alliance with Eriksson. "You can't blame Becks for enjoying the privileges handed him by Sven. And as our captain he deserved respect.
"But you can resent the way Sven so openly indulged David, in particular, and one or two other players. That wasn't right."
While McClaren's appointment failed to inspire a nation tired of underachievement you couldn't accuse him of lacking courage as he dumped Beckham for Wednesday's friendly against Greece and then issued his mission statement, saying:
"We need to get the shackles off, rid ourselves of fear and start playing football for England.
"I'm different from Sven. I have to be my own man and if I'm not people will see straight through me. People will naturally ask how is it going to be different but I can assure you it is going to be different."
McClaren denied that he consulted his employers about ending Beckham's reign. "I never discussed the exclusion of David with anyone at the FA - only a handful of people I trusted knew about the decision.
"I think you can say as regards the omission of Beckham I'm looking for pace and mobility. I like players who can beat players - and in this squad there are quite a few who can do that."
McClaren may have only been in the job five minutes but already he's recruited a shrink.
Sports psychologist Bill Beswick will be working with the new England boss in an attempt to unite the camp.
McClaren said: "I believe to succeed at this level you need to surround yourself with the best people.
"I wanted Terry Venables because of his immense knowledge and ability, someone whose opinion I would value. I'm a great advocate of the technology side of things and Steve Round is exceptional at that. He has the potential to be one of the best young coaches in the country.
"At the top level in any sport the mental condition of players is very important. I've been working with Bill Beswick for 10 years. When I went into management at Middlesbrough he didn't just help the players, he also helped me.
"I wouldn't have brought him on board unless I felt he could benefit the squad, the team, the staff and the players and that is why I've done it."
McClaren concluded: "It's important to get this squad as one - and as captain John Terry is going to play a very important part in that.
"I remember during the World Cup we introduced speeches before games then all of a sudden JT came in and it was effing this and effing that.
"One day as we went out Sven said, 'You wouldn't get John Terry in a church, would you?' I said no, not really. But we carried it on - and I intend to do the same."