McClaren's Weaknesses Spell Disaster for England

By John Nicholson

Is Steve McClaren a two-faced hypocrite? Yes, says ex-players Massimo Maccarone and Danny Mills, no says, well, nobody except McClaren.

Both sides are obviously biased, but there is an air of truth about these criticisms simply because they confirm so many fans long held beliefs, that McClaren is an essentially weak man. When he was Boro manager he was always at his worst when the side was losing and playing crap, which to be fair was a lot of the time.

He clearly didn’t enjoy criticism, well who does, but you could see that it irked him that anyone was critical of the sides he put out, despite the fact it was self evident that they were playing badly. He regularly put out poorly organized and under-motivated sides and he also never used relatively substantial funds available to him very well.

He was always quick with a cheesy smile and the positive vibes when things were going well, and I certainly always felt that he wallowed too deeply in the successes and hid from the failures too much. This is a quintessential sign of a basically insecure and weak manager.

There was never any sign at Middlesbrough that he was good under pressure, quite the reverse, and its worth remembering that the great 4-3 recoveries in Europe were at least as much to do with the senior players taking control in the dressing room at half time. In fact, there has long been a suggestion that McClaren’s advice was ignored and dismissed by the players because it was his tactics that had led them to being behind in the first place.

That might be a bit harsh but it certainly illustrates the lack of respect and motivational ability that is inherent to McClaren’s character.

Maccarone’s accusation was that McClaren made false promises to him; that he was two-faced. Well most players who are leaving a club after five years of failure will probably feel a bit resentful and he was an absolute stinker of a player – apart from the last minute goals in Europe of course – and should have been shipped out at least 2 years ago – it is a sign of McClaren’s weakness again that he wasn’t.

But it was Danny Mill’s comments at the weekend on 5Live that he had sympathy for the Italian and had found McClaren to be like that too, that I thought was more significant. Mills top flight career is over and he wasn’t at Boro long but he is an articulate critic and he did play under McClaren and Sven in Japorea in 2002 so he has seen him at work and has no obvious axe to grind at this stage of his career, so it’s hard to think that he’d say that he’d found McClaren would say one thing to your face which his actions would then contradict, is anything other than the truth. Mills also said he was quick with the warm words which again, were contradicted by his actions. You don’t need to be a psychologist to see that this is a bloke who doesn’t like confrontation and would rather lie to a player than tell him bad news.

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