Steve McClaren warns England that Szilard Nemeth will be an 'elusive' threat for
Exclusive: Steve McClaren warns England that Szilard Nemeth will be an 'elusive' threat for Slovakia on Wednesday night...
Speaking exclusively to TheFA.com, the man that manages Nemeth at club level has pinpointed the striker as the main danger to the Three Lions in the big match-up tomorrow.
"Szil showed what he's capable of in the first game in Bratislava," says Steve, referring to Nemeth's strike the last time the two countries met in October.
"He scored and was a threat all night. His movement is excellent and it makes him very difficult for defenders to pick up. He's an elusive player and has a very impressive goalscoring record at international level."
For a man not actually taking part in the game directly, Steve seems inextricably linked to this match. He is a former coach of the England side, the game is being played at the club he manages and he's the boss of the opposition's top striker. And then there's the small matter of him being Chief Guest for the game too.
It is a great individual honour for one of the most highly regarded English coaches in the game but he is keen to highlight the qualities of Middlesbrough Football Club as a whole.
"It's fantastic that international football is coming to the Riverside," he says proudly. "We've seen ourselves that when the ground is full it creates an atmosphere that's second to none and I'm sure that will be the case again on Wednesday night."
Steve is not really a great one for breaks. His omnipresence in his office at the Middlesbrough training ground a month after the season has ended is testament to the punishing workload that he accepts with the readiness of man determined to get to the top.
And, two seasons into his first job as a manager, Steve is in a position to reflect on the Middlesbrough experience so far. Does he feel that he and the club are on schedule to meet their joint ambitions?
"Yes, I think we are," he says. "Last season was good season for us. We made progress. But the big thing is for us to continue to move forward. I see the season coming as a vitally important one for the club."
True. And Wednesday night's game is a vitally important one for the country.
Steve McClaren was talking to Daniel Freedman
England v Slovakia: Match Centre