Twente's McClaren: England woes won't go away
Steve McClaren believes England's 'problems will always be there' - but insists his focus is now all on the job in hand with FC Twente.
The former national team head coach was back in London today as he prepared his Dutch side for tomorrow night's second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
McClaren's England tenure came to an unceremonious end under an umbrella on a wet November night at Wembley when defeat to Croatia resulted in failure to qualify for Euro 2008.
Much has been made of the below-par displays since by a supposedly new-look national team under the guidance of Italian Fabio Capello, who will start on the road to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa next month.
However, former Middlesbrough boss McClaren - assistant to Sven-Goran Eriksson in Germany two years ago - insists he takes no satisfaction in seeing the negative headlines about the direction England were now heading.
'You gentlemen will decide that in good time and from what I gather you made a judgement last week as well,' he said, speaking in tonight's press conference at the Emirates Stadium.
'Of course I know the problems. They will not go away.
'I have documented the problems before, and if you have an hour, I could document them again.
'But I am here for FC Twente against Arsenal.
'England is not my problem any more. The only thing I am worried about or bothered about is being successful with FC Twente.
'They have given me an opportunity to work in Holland at a good club with good people and I want to pay them back.'
McClaren added: 'I had great affinity with them [England] for seven years, I don't like the reactions and I know the problems an England manager has, more than anyone else and people are finding that out now.
'Again, it is an over-reaction to a defeat. I experienced that and we are experiencing it again, but England have one of the top managers in the world in Capello and I wish them good luck in the qualifiers.'
The 47-year-old returned to management during the summer when he was appointed by the Enschede club, who surprised Ajax to win their domestic play-off to have a crack at the Champions League for the first time.
McClaren has certainly made an impression in Holland, and has also become something of a celebrity on YouTube, where an interview in which he speaks English with a Dutch accent has received more than 150,000 hits.
However, the Yorkshireman brushed off the suggestions of a comedy turn. He quipped: 'Well at least I am speaking English.
'It is just the way it is here (in Holland). It is so Dutch people can understand.'
McClaren, though, will be certain to get his message across loud and clear tomorrow night, when FC Twente will look for another decent performance - but with a better outcome than from the first leg in Arnhem where two late goals left them with a mountain to climb to make the group stages.
'It is going to be very difficult to pull back a two-goal deficit, especially against this side at home,' he said.
'After the game the players had a lot of belief that they could compete.'
Twente - who missed several chances in the first leg - must do without suspended frontman Blaise N'Kufo and also injured frontman Marko Arnautovic, while this week former Middlesbrough midfielder Luke Wilkshire was sold to Dynamo Moscow.
Arsenal also have their own concerns, but McClaren rejected suggestions the Gunners were 'in crisis' following defeat at Fulham last weekend.
'I know Arsenal inside out and what they are capable of,' he said.
'Whenever an English top four club loses a game, there is a crisis - but as usual there is no crisis and I do not expect Arsene Wenger to think there is one just two games into the season.
'With the players they have got, they are one of the top teams.
On their day, they can beat and tear apart anybody.'