New England manager Steve McClaren insists he has not tried to wash his hands of predecessor Sven-Goran Eriksson's disappointing reign.
Former Middlesbrough boss McClaren worked as Eriksson's assistant for five years until taking over from the Swede after this summer's World Cup.
McClaren has tried to make a clean break - particularly by omitting former captain David Beckham from his first squad - but he does not want to disassociate himself with Eriksson completely.
McClaren said: "I was a part of it and I was responsible for it along with the players and the staff.
"I'm not saying I've moved away from that. I had a great respect and friendship with Sven and I would never criticise him."
One of Eriksson's most controversial decisions was the selection of Theo Walcott for the World Cup in Germany even though the 17-year-old striker (pictured) had not played in Arsenal's first team.
Walcott did not feature but McClaren understood why Eriksson made his choice, whether he agreed or not.
He said: "I think it was looking at something different. There was a problem with Wayne Rooney - whether he was going to be fit - and Michael Owen, who was just coming back to fitness.
"He was just excited by this player. Whether I agreed or disagreed - that's a private conversation we had - ultimately it was Sven's decision."
McClaren also dismissed suggestions that Eriksson had a relationship with Beckham that proved detrimental.
McClaren said: "I've appointed John Terry as skipper and I want exactly the same relationship. I want him to build the dressing room, I want him to build the spirit and be a part of the decisions.
"At this level, players have an awful lot to contribute. That's how captains should be, they should be the benchmark for the rest of the squad."
McClaren will meet up with his squad tonight to begin preparations for his first match in charge, a friendly against Greece on Wednesday.
England begin their qualifying campaign for Euro 2008 next month and the new manager hopes that by the time that tournament comes around, he has a team that can adapt comfortably to different systems. Eriksson was criticised for not appearing to have a preferred formation or enough back-up plans when the World Cup started.
"I am looking for flexibility," McClaren said. "We have got to make sure when we come in to a tournament we have got two or three different playing systems we can adapt to.
"We have got a set of players that I believe can win a major tournament. You have to have that belief and be able to handle that belief."