Unwelcome break! Steve McClaren frustrated by interruption to his Newcastle learning curve

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren admits the international break has come at a bad time for Newcastle United.

McClaren’s side are not in action again until September 14, when they take on West Ham United at Upton Park.

We want to keep playing, because that’s when I learn. The games are the test.

Steve McClaren

Newcastle are yet to win a Premier League game.

And the club is second from bottom of the division, having taken two points from four games.

But head coach McClaren must wait until a week on Monday for the team’s next chance to register a victory in what will be the club’s last league visit to the Boleyn Ground.

McClaren feels he only really learns about his new-look team in matches.

Asked about the international break, he said: “We want to keep playing, because that’s when I learn. The games are the test.

“We want to get this team winning as quickly as possible.”

McClaren is looking to get the right blend of youth and experience in his team.

The club has shied away from recruiting players in their late 20s, without significant resale value, under the ownership of Mike Ashley, but McClaren feels he has enough know-how in his ranks.

And the likes of Florian Thauvin and Georginio Wijnaldum, signed from Olympique Marseille and PSV Eindhoven respectively, have added some “exuberance” to the squad.

“At the present moment, we’ve got good experience in people like Colo (Fabricio Coloccini) and Steven Taylor,” said McClaren.

“You always need experience, and then the youth can give you exuberance. It’s just about getting the balance right.”

Meanwhile, West Ham – who beat Liverpool at Anfield last weekend – had a busy transfer deadline day.

The club signed Alex Song and Victor Moses on loan from Barcelona and Chelsea respectively, and also secured permanent deals for Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic and Nottingham Forest’s Michail Antonio.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, buoyed by their arrivals, could also have ex-Newcastle striker Andy Carroll available for the visit of McClaren’s side.

Carroll is back in training after recovering from the knee operation he underwent in February. The 26-year-old posted a video of him scoring in training on Twitter this week.