Tuesday 20 March 2018

McClaren: I have nothing to prove

Steve McClaren is ready for his first competitive game as Newcastle boss
Steve McClaren is ready for his first competitive game as Newcastle boss

Steve McClaren is adamant he has nothing more to prove as he prepares to make his Barclays Premier League bow with Newcastle against Southampton at St James's Park on Sunday.

McClaren admits he spent years seeking to repair his reputation after being booted out of the England job in 2006, but the 54-year-old says his own career is now very much rooted in the present.

McClaren said: "After the England job, I spent a lot of years trying to prove myself, then after that I spent a lot of time gaining experience. That is what I have been doing.

"I have tried a couple of times to come back but it is difficult for an England manager to come back and manage - Sir Bobby (Robson) didn't do a bad job but there were quite a few years in between.

"Hopefully those years have set me up to do that. You want to come back in the Premier League and if you want to pick a club, there are not many as big as Newcastle United in terms of potential."

McClaren has accepted there can be no honeymoon period as he tries to lift the gloom of despondency that hung over Tyneside during last season's calamitous campaign.

A summer spending spree which has brought in the likes of Gini Wijnaldum, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba - plus a contract extension for captain Fabricio Coloccini this week - have gone some way to improving the mood.

And McClaren knows the onus is now on him to win over those doubters who remain unconvinced by his appointment to replace former caretaker-boss John Carver in the summer.

"I can understand that point of view and it's no problem," added McClaren. "I've got the opportunity and it's something I've wanted since I've lived in this area.

"Where ever you go, you want to make it work. That is the difference. Before, it was drive and ambition and everything and now it's 'let's do the job'.

"Where ever I have been since then (England), I have said, 'that's it, I just want to do the job here and not have ambitions for anywhere else - and so I am here."

While Wijnaldum is set to start against Saints, McClaren is unlikely to risk either Mitrovic or Mbemba from the start to their relative lack of match fitness.

Coloccini is also facing a late fitness test after missing almost the entirety of the Magpies' pre-season programme with an Achilles complaint.

Press Association

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