The return of Steve McClaren to the Netherlands
McClaren rebuilt his career in the Netherlands after accepting a tricky challenge to manage abroad for the first time in his career at Twente in the summer of 2008, despite his failure to ensure England qualified for the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland.
McClaren replaces Dutch coach Co Adriaanse who left the Enschede club this week amid rumours of problems with Twente president Joop Munsterman, the players and staff. McClaren enjoys a good relationship with Munsterman whilst the brand of football he endeavours to play appeals to Twente fans.
McClaren explained the reasons for his return at the press conference today: “People ask me why I came back. Well, for me it was an easy decision, I think for three main reasons.
“The first is the chairman (Joop Munsterman) and the vision of the club he has. It’s still growing and developing, there are still very good people behind the scenes from the management committee all the way through to the academy.
“The second reason is the team, I like it. It’s a good one with good balance and a good core, but with good young players, which is still competing at the top and challenging for the title.
“The third reason is the fans. I’ve spoken to some English people who came here for the Fulham (Europa League) game and they couldn’t believe the atmosphere in this stadium. They said it was a unique atmosphere and a beautiful club.”
McClaren is one of the few Englishmen to win league trophies abroad along with the likes of Terry Venables (Barcelona) and Bobby Robson (PSV Eindhoven, Porto).
This time McClaren believes he will not need six months to adapt this time to the league as he takes over a club just five points behind leaders AZ in the Eredivisie table.
In an interview on the official club website, McClaren said the decision to return was easy: “I had no hesitation.”
He believes that the ‘ambition is still there’ for the club to compete for the league title and qualify for European competitions regularly. McClaren also thinks that Twente are one of five teams who have a realistic chance of winning the domestic title.
McClaren believes that the culture and the philosophy of the club remains the same even if the team itself has changed. The core of the squad – the likes of Peter Wisgerhof, Douglas, Wout Brama and Luuk de Jong - and exciting talents such as Ola John, Leroy Fer and Nacer Chadli have convinced McClaren that the club are in a good position for his aim of sustained success.
McClaren has also indicated that he will once again endeavour to develop and give the younger players in the squad a chance.
His first game will be at home against RKC on Saturday 21st January.
Twente finished second in the Eredivisie behind AZ Alkmaar in his first season, finishing ahead of the traditional big three in the Netherlands – Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord. McClaren nearly led his new side to success in the KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup) but they lost on penalties in the final to Heerenveen.
In his second season McClaren led Twente to the Eredivisie title in 2010, for the first time in their history. Following that success in the Netherlands, a spell in Germany with VfL Wolfsburg followed but ended after just 21 league games as he was sacked following terrible results.
He took the Wolfsburg job in the summer of 2010 but was sacked after leaving his side in 12th place, just one point off a relegation place after a disastrous start. McClaren returned to England with Nottingham Forest but resigned as manager after just 111 days in charge leaving the club fourth from bottom in the Championship.
It will be interesting to see which challenge McClaren takes up after this second spell with Twente ends, whether he continues to be one of the few Englishmen managing abroad or once again attempts to find success in his homeland.
For now, McClaren is delighted to return to the club that rebuilt his reputation: “It feels great to be back at the club where I experienced the best day of my career.”
Picture:Getty ImagesTagged in: football, Nottingham Forest, Steve McClaren, Twente, wolfsburg
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