Steve McClaren is determined to get things right at Newcastle – and admits it’s a job he has been eyeing since leaving his post as England coach.
The 54-year-old, who learnt his trade as a coach under Jim smith at Derby and former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, has enjoyed varying degrees of success during a career which has taken him from Middlesbrough to England and via Holland and Germany to Nottingham Forest and Derby.
However, he admits he always had one eye on St James’ Park and despite a less than impressive start to his reign on Tyneside, he is desperate to get it right after being granted his wish to work in the Barclays Premier League once again.
McClaren said: “Once the England job went, that has always been my kind of focus and drive. I’ve done that now. I’ve joined a club which I’ve wanted to, even for the last 15 years.
“In some respects, it has been a long journey back and a tough one. But I want to make a success of this football club because it can be big and it can be huge.”
Since his success at Middlesbrough, where he led the Teessiders to their first major trophy, the 2004 Carling Cup, and FC Twente, whom he guided to the Dutch title, life has been more difficult for McClaren with his ill-fated spell in charge of the national team particularly bruising.
Asked if he thought he would ever get the chance to manage a club as big as Newcastle, he said: “Don’t get me wrong, after England I had dark days and dark moments and dark spells, ups and downs, here, there and everywhere.
“But I always believed, given the opportunity, I wanted to do that. I certainly felt that the experience abroad was great. I thought we would do it with Derby, but it wasn’t to be, so this is a great opportunity.”
That opportunity has to date yielded little more than frustration with the Magpies still awaiting a first Premier League win of the campaign as they head into their ninth fixture, Sunday’s visit of Norwich, and while that has brought criticism, McClaren has become used to that.
He said: “When you have worked with the national team, you never get bigger batterings than that.”
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