(not, we should stress, being scouted by any international managers we know of)

In genuine jeopardy of failure to qualify for Euro 2008, England manager Steve McClaren traveled to Los Angeles last weekend, a questionable junket the Guardian’s Marina Hyde describes as “the moment his tenure as head coach tipped into something beneath even low farce.”

To the match the world was watching, then, as we turn our thoughts to the continued fallout from LA Galaxy’s clash with Hollywood United on Sunday evening, and rue the irony that Without A Trace’s Jack Malone was in goal for the visitors.

Special Agent Malone is head of the FBI’s Missing Persons Unit, and had he not been shipping 12 goals at the Home Depot Center – not all that bad, for a 48-year-old with a plastic hip – he might have been prevailed upon to use his legendary sleuthing skills to pinpoint the whereabouts of the England manager.

Steve McClaren, you see, was not even at the game. He had flown to Los Angeles, watched a training session, and visited David Beckham’s well-appointed Beverly Hills home. But contrary to initial reports, it has now emerged that he chose to forgo the opportunity of watching Beckham wrongfoot Def Leppard’s Viv Campbell. (It is not known whether representatives from the Croatian set-up made the spectacle part of their preparations for the Euro 2008 qualifier later this month.)

Sounding faintly uncomfortable, a Football Association spokesman confirms suggestions that McClaren did not actually attend the match with the words: “It looks that way . . .”

If there is one thing that looks worse than his skipping Arsenal-Manchester United to watch David Beckham turn out against a side featuring a 52-year-old former Sex Pistol, it is his skipping Arsenal-Manchester United to not even watch David Beckham turn out against a side featuring a 52-year-old former Sex Pistol.