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Monday 5 December 2016

McClaren not out to tame Mitrovic

Published 14/08/2015 | 16:23

Steve McClaren does not want Aleksandar Mitrovic, pictured, to lose his aggression
Steve McClaren does not want Aleksandar Mitrovic, pictured, to lose his aggression

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren does not want to lose the devil in striker Aleksandar Mitrovic as he attempts to make his way in English football.

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The Serbia international, a £13million summer signing from Anderlecht, announced himself in the Barclays Premier League by picking up a booking within seconds of his introduction as a substitute in last Sunday's 2-2 draw with Southampton.

McClaren, who takes his side to Swansea on Saturday, later admitted the 20-year-old had been fortunate not to be sent off, but while he knows Mitrovic may have to curb some of his instincts if he is to avoid the unwelcome attention of referees, he wants him to play his natural game.

He said: " We have to try to calm him down, try to channel it, h e knows that. But we can't take away that kind of devil, aggression that he's got because that's what we talked about a lot going into the first game, and definitely will talk about it going into the second game too.

"The game is about physicality, it is about duels, it is about competing. Sometimes you have to be over-competitive."

McClaren will go head to head with one of the rising stars of the English management game this weekend when he locks horns with Garry Monk, who is being touted by bookmakers as one of the leading candidates to succeed Roy Hodgson in charge of the national team at some point in the future.

McClaren took the same job at the tender age of 45, and while he has admitted the opportunity came too soon for him, he believes the same applies to 36-year-old Monk.

He said: "I was a bit older when I got the job, but Garry would be the first to admit he's not ready for that yet. Having said that, you can ever tell in football.

"He's focused - and focused very well - on one job, and he's doing it very well."

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