New Derby County head coach Steve McClaren is “thrilled” to be back at the club for the third time in his career.
Former England boss McClaren was announced as Nigel Clough’s successor at Pride Park on Monday and will take charge for the first time in the home Championship fixture against Leeds United on Saturday.
This represents the 52-year-old’s third spell at Derby, after he played for the club in the 1980s and returned as Jim Smith’s assistant between 1995 and 1999 before leaving to be Alex Ferguson’s number two at Manchester United.
And McClaren, who has left a position on Harry Redknapp’s coaching team at Queens Park Rangers to take up the post, is delighted to have returned along with assistant Paul Simpson and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.
“I’m thrilled, excited … we’ve got a big challenge ahead,” he said.
“The club wants to go to the next step, and that’s why we’re here.
“We want to fill the stadium, get the fans excited. They’re the most important people at the club.
“We all remember the days in the Premier League – Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool (coming here). That’s the dream.”
Clough was dismissed after four years at the helm following a run of form that had seen Derby go four games without a win in all competitions.
McClaren, who has also managed Middlesbrough, FC Twente, Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest as well as England, paid tribute to his predecessor and pledged to continue the work he did in creating a side that plays a “good style of football”.
“This is football – you can change direction. Nigel has been significant in establishing the academy and creating a good team,” he added.
Chief executive Sam Rush went on to say that the time was right for a change at Pride Park, and he has no doubt that McClaren is the man to take Derby to the next level.
“We want to move forward in a new direction. We are hugely excited by working with Steve and his coaching team,” he said.