Former England coach tells TheFA.com about his time with Sven's men
EXCLUSIVE: Former England coach tells TheFA.com about his time with Sven's men.
Standing beside the pitch watching the England team train, there might just have been a certain pang of emotion inside Steve McClaren.
Dressed in a shirt and trousers and looking on from the sidelines rather than conducting matters himself in the centre circle is an unusual experience for a man who, up until a few months ago, was one of the key members of Sven's coaching staff.
"It's great to see everyone again," he beamed when he caught up with TheFA.com for the first time since last summer's World Cup adventure.
"I had a really good rapport with the players, the coaches and the staff. Of course I miss it a bit but at the same time I have no regrets at all about the decision that I made because my responsibilities here at Middlesbrough are simply too much to combine with coaching England too."
When you talk to Sven about Steve McClaren, there is no doubt in his mind about the qualities of his former coleague. "Steve is something special," says the England manager.
But how does Steve look back on his time as an England coach and what did he learn from the experience?
"I look back on it as a brilliant time in my career," he says. "It was a wonderful experience. I went to World Cup and not many coaches can say that they achieved that during their whole career.
"And it wasn't just the games themselves, but the build-up too. Those huge games like the match away to Germany and the last qualifier at home to Greece had such an amazing atmosphere about them.
"From a coaching perspective, seeing how things are organised for international football taught me a lot .
"I will always be grateful to Sven for the responsibility that he gave me as a coach. Obviously he set out the broader organisation and framework but, within that, he allowed me the freedom to work.
"I have learned from that and it's one of the things that I have tried to introduce myself at Middlesbrough. Though it's my instinct to want to get out there and do the coaching, as a manager you have to take a step back in order to see the whole picture. That sometimes means trusting your coaches to do some of the work on the pitch for you and I learned that from Sven."
There is no doubt that Steve is one of the most ambitious and highly regarded coaches in the game so would he, one day, like to return to the England fold?
"As a coach, I want to work with the best players," says Steve, as he watches a Paul Scholes drive arrow into the roof of the net.
"So it might be nice in the future but, at the moment, I've got a very important job to do here at Middlesbrough and I know that I've made the right decision for myself and the club."
Steve McClaren was talking to Daniel Freedman
Steve McClaren - The Stat Pack
Place of Birth: York
Date of Birth: 03 May 1961
Playing Career: Hull City, Derby C, Lincoln C (loan), Bristol C, Oxford Utd
Current Club: Middlesbrough (coach)