“The Dutch taught me a new identity” - Steve McClaren

In an interview he did with us former England manager Steve McLaren explained how spending time abroad and coaching in different countries really helped him to become a better coach.

Dec 23rd 2021

Written by The Coaching Manual

Many of you probably know McClaren for his time managing the  England national team as well as teams in the English Premier League such as Newcastle United and Middlesbrough. 

However, he also spent time over in the Netherlands where he managed FC Twente. If you read below you will discover what impacts the Dutch had on his coaching style.

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What did you learn from coaching in the Netherlands?

“I think going to the Netherlands was the best move I made in my career. I remember going there and Bobby Robson - who had been with PSV and won the championship there - he said ‘go on your won son, coaches are great, football is great, you’ll learn a lot’.

My first assistant was Eric ten Hag, who is now manager of Ajax, and in my second year, it was Alfred Schreuder, who was the assistant to Eric at Ajax. So I had two very good assistants in the two years I was there. 

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The Dutch taught me a whole new football identity, way of playing, philosophy, and I had to adapt and embrace that. And I did, and it was fantastic. An example, in my first game, we drew, and I wasn’t happy. But the media were delighted because we had 70% possession of the ball. And I said ‘yeah, but we haven’t won’ - doesn’t matter, 70% of the ball is very good and that’s what they wanted to see. So, I think to sum up my experience of the Netherlands that was it - they taught me about possession football - build up from the back, like the session I’ll be doing today - and what I have them was that drawing was not enough, it’s about winning. I think we came together with the team very very well and had success.”

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McClaren’s full interview makes for fascinating viewing as he talks about how he got into coaching, the fundamentals of coaching and what it's like to manage an international football team. Follow this link to watch it in full.

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