Newcastle United will be hard to beat under Steve McClaren – but the team will also entertain.
That’s the verdict of Gateshead manager Malcolm Crosby, who worked with McClaren at Middlesbrough and Oxford.
They might not be charging forward every five minutes but he’ll have them well-organised and they’ll be a hard team to beat.Malcolm Crosby
South Shields-born Crosby – who has succeeded Gary Mills at the International Stadium – feels the former England manager is well-equipped for the task in hand at St James’s Park.
Head coach McClaren, the last man to deliver a major trophy to a North East side, must revitalised a side which narrowly escaped relegation last season.
The 54-year-old’s players returned for the start of pre-season training yesterday.
“Steve’s a good manager and a good coach,” said Crosby, who was by McClaren’s side when Middlesbrough won the League Cup in 2004.
“I think he’s a good appointment for Newcastle. Stability is important. I’d like to think he’ll give them it.
“His managerial record is good. I think he did a great job at Middlesbrough.
“He went over to Holland (with FC Twente) and did fantastic. In Germany with Wolfsburg, it didn’t happen.”
Newcastle struggled last season after the departure of Alan Pardew at the turn of the year, and the club’s Premier League status was only confirmed on the final day of a troubled campaign.
Crosby expects United to be an altogether different proposition under McClaren, who was sacked by Derby County in late May after the club failed to make the Championship play-offs.
“He’ll organise the team,” he said. They might not be charging forward every five minutes but he’ll have them well-organised and they’ll be a hard team to beat.
“At the end of the day, that’s what you have to be in any league.”
United’s first pre-season friendly is against Crosby’s Gateshead at the International Stadium on July 10 (8pm kick-off).
Tickets, priced at £15 for adults, £10 for over-60s, £8 for students and ages 16-17 and £3 for under-15s, are on sale now from Newcastle’s ticket office.
Gateshead chairman Graham Wood said: “Newcastle United sending their first team to Gateshead is a sign of the growing co-operation between the two clubs. The last time Newcastle sent their first team we had a full house of 11,750. It would be great to see the same again.”