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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 12, 2011

McClaren wants forward thinking

Steve McClaren has returned from his ill-fated spell in charge of Wolfsburg insisting England need to learn the lessons from the technical development of young players on the continent.

McClaren was sacked as Wolfsburg manager this week after only 21 Bundesliga games, a huge comedown after he led Dutch club FC Twente to the Eredivisie title last season.

He claims he could have turned the side around given more time, but accepted that it was better for the club and himself to part ways.

While the job may not have worked out, though, the former England manager has returned from the Bundesliga with a new insight into the approach to development used in Germany.

"The emotion and the excitement of the game is here, but there's also a great seriousness about learning and understanding football," he said in The Times. "Coaching is a profession. It's harder to get the same qualifications out here, no doubt about it.

"It's twice as much work. A young coach has to shadow a club for a year, writing reports on every training session, every game, like a silent assistant."

The players learn very differently too, he said. Describing a conversation with a 21-year-old player in front of a tactics board at Wolfsburg, McClaren said: "I told him about our opponents, their formation and strengths, and asked him what he thought we should do.

"He starts moving the pieces around the board, explaining how we need three at the back operating without the ball, where we need to press, how we need to drop the man back on the left.

"It's like he's read all my notes. I asked him how he knew all this and he said, 'It's how we've been taught since we were 12'."

Now McClaren, who is regarded as a failure as England manager, sees lessons for coaches here.

"I've seen how Holland and Germany have put so much work and thought into their coach development and youth programmes," he said. "They needed to.

"Holland had a kick up the backside after failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals and Germany realised they were falling behind ten years ago. We should be doing much more of it in England."

If his comments sound like an application for a technical role at the FA, they are not - McClaren insists he still wants to coach.

"If I didn't, I would have given up after England," he said. "I had enough people telling me I should."

McClaren said he has given himself until the summer to find a new job.

"I want a job that excites me and is something different," he said. "I've enjoyed the experiences, but it's true what they advise managers about choosing your club, not your team."

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