Steve McClaren and his side come up against Stoke City on Saturday and one of the opposition players has only good things to say about the Newcastle Head Coach.
When McClaren joined FC Twente, 19 year old Marko Arnautovic walked into his office on day one and demanded a transfer to Feyenoord.
The forward had made only one league start the season before after coming up through the youth system and he was excited at the idea of joining a big club like Feyenoord, from a small provincial one such as Twente.
However, Steve McClaren had done his research and convinced Marko Arnautovic to stay and he ended up scoring 12 goals in pre-season, before then helping FC Twente to finish second in the league, largely due to 14 goals and 12 assists from the striker.
The following season was the year McClaren and Twente won the Dutch League but by then Inter Milan had signed Arnautovic, though it turned out it wasn’t Jose Mourinho who had chosen to buy him and he was largely left on the sidelines.
Ahead of the match with Newcastle United, Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic had this to say about Steve McClaren:
“Feyenoord wanted me and at that time Feyenoord were a big club. They still are in Holland.
“They wanted me so I said, ‘Ok coach, I want to go to Feyenoord and play in a better team.’ He said he wouldn’t let me go because I was going to be a key player.
“I asked how could he say I was a key player when I didn’t start before he came but he said, ‘No, I know you, you will be a key player so you stay here and I will not let you go’.
“I could do nothing if they did not want to let me go so I stayed and it was a great season. It was the right decision.
“After the season he came in and told me, ‘You see!’
“Steve started my career really. I had already been in the first team a bit and started a few games, but I always came in and then straight out or I was on the bench.
“When he came in he gave me the opportunity to play from the start and show myself. That season we did very well. We finished second and I scored 14 goals and made 12 assists.
“Steve helped me a lot and I still really appreciate it, I like him as a man and as a coach of course.”