Steve McClaren’s Dutch rehab yielding results

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta

Steve McClaren

One cannot blame Steve McLaren for packing his bags and fleeing the UK following England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008.

Branded the ‘wally with the brolly’ after his famous choice to fight the elements with an enormous umbrella in the Wembley technical area, he was swiftly sacked by the FA after England’s 3-2 loss to Croatia.

After a brief spell at Darlington, June 2008 saw McClaren unveiled as the new boss of Dutch side FC Twente.

The initial stages of his tenure in Holland saw McClaren once again ridiculed in the British press following his adaptation of a temporary Dutch accent in an interview with the local media.

Just days later his side were comprehensively beaten by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the two-legged Champions League group stage qualifiers.

But since then McClaren has yielded impressive results at the Enschede club.

During his first season in charge, he led Twente to a second-place finish in the Eredivisie. Ahead of the likes of Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, his side were only beaten to the top spot by the high-flying AZ Alkmaar.

In 2009-10, McClaren has continued to build on his early success in Holland. After 12 games, his side proudly sit at the summit of the Eredivisie, two points clear of PSV.

His reputation in England may be beyond repair, but credit must be given to the 48-year-old as he continues to find success away from the spotlight of the British media.

Asked recently if he thought he would ever coach in England again, the former Middlesbrough boss admitted he wasn’t sure.

“At the moment everything is going well and I’m enjoying myself again,” he told The Sun. “The people here have been very good to me.”

“But I know the fickleness of football. If we lose two or three those fans will want to send me on a ship back to England.

“I’ve no idea if I’ll ever go back to coaching in England. I’ve long since stopped planning my career in terms of ‘I’d like to do this or that.'”

McClaren’s success at Twente hasn’t gone unnoticed — the club rewarded his efforts by offering him a one-year contract extension which will see him stay at the club until 2011.

And if he were to lead Twente to the Eredivisie title and the automatic qualification for the Champions League that comes with it, clubs back in England will surely begin to take notice.

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