BLACKBURN midfielder David Bentley will start tomorrow's crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia on the bench.

The winger played seven minutes of Saturday's 3-0 win over Israel at Wembley, but was booed by England fans virtually every time he touched the ball.

Manager Steve McClaren has since backed the player, claiming he had the confidence and arrogance' to overcome the boo boys.

But he is set to leave Bentley on the bench again, opting to name an unchanged side against the Russians at Wembley. The only real decision is replacing Emile Heskey for Peter Crouch, who is available after suspension.

Such is the fickle nature of sport that while McClaren stands only a couple of wins away from achieving his short-term aim of qualification, defeat would leave England on the brink of elimination.

It is a brutal fact that only twice in his short time in charge - against Greece and Andorra right at the start, and Brazil and Estonia last June - have England strung effective performances together in successive matches.

Having failed to beat either Croatia or Israel on home soil, Russia are clearly at least a couple of notches below world class.

But any side coached by Hiddink has to be respected and their excellent defensive record - just one goal conceded in eight outings so far - sends out a clear warning signal.

"It is no good winning one game without winning another," said McClaren.