The team still have to do it on the pitch but what a breath of fresh air it is listening to Steve McClaren’s assistant Ian Cathro speak.

The Newcastle United Assistant Manager was interviewed by Guillem Balague for Sky Sports and he cuts a really impressive figure.

Still only 29, Ian Cathro has worked in both Portugal and Spain (as assistant to Manager Nuno) and was an intriguing appointment by McClaren.

Have a read below and he comes across as somebody who has a real intensity and passion about his job, backing up his reputation as a real innovator when he worked at Valencia in particular.

No disrespect but I don’t think the dream team of John Carver, Andy Woodman and Steve Stone were having these kinds of chats in the boot room…

Guillem Balague asking the questions and Ian Cathro providing the answers:

‘What did you take from your experience in Spain?’

“I think having access to work with top class players is something you have to truly experience and respect.

“I learnt a massive amount from listening to what the players were thinking and interpreting certain situations. You not only have to appreciate the actual technical and physical qualities of the players, but also the intelligence of them, their knowledge and the feelings they have of matches.

“Often they are the guys who have the answers, who know how to approach situations. The best way to get through an opponent, or a certain situation, or another team.

“If you don’t spend the time to learn their views on things, to learn their feelings, then from a coaching staff point of view – you are potentially missing out on accommodating all of that and turning it to your advantage.”

‘Compare how it was in Valencia – same kind of role (at Newcastle)?’

“Very similar. My view always is that you are there to give everything you can, every aspect from analysis, ideas for training sessions, and your general take on how to make yourselves better and maybe how to adapt most effectively against an opponent.”

‘When in Valencia we had lunch with Nuno (Espirito Santo) and he called you a ‘Genius’. Are you a genius and if you are, why didn’t you stay and be Nuno’s genius at Valencia?’

“The main reason behind it, is football is a passion and it’s certainly more than a job, but football does take place inside life.

“I left home really quite young (26), having worked for three years abroad, which doesn’t sound like a mammoth amount of time but it certainly felt like that. So much to take in, two different languages (Nuno and Cathro were at Portuguese club Rio Ave before Valencia).

“A very intense period of time and it was as simple as me wanting to have a similar period of time closer to home.

“I have the desire to work abroad again and I’d like to return to Spain sometime in the future, but in the meantime I need to be closer to home.”

ian cathro

‘Manager or Head Coach one day?’

“I see that as the next step, progressing towards being a Manager or Head Coach and subsequent to that, I’d consider the idea of working abroad again.

“With a period of time in this English League, which is very different, and working with English speaking players, which is different because I have never done that before.

“When the opportunity comes to work abroad again, I think I will be much better prepared.

“Learn to enjoy the lifestyle a little more as well.”