The Dutch side FC Twente claim they are close to appointing the former England manager Steve McClaren as their new coach, despite opposition from their own supporters.
The Twente chairman Joop Munsterman is waiting for a response from the Englishman. "We want a coach who is accustomed to working with top players," Munsterman said yesterday, but admitted that most fans are sceptical about a coach who failed to lead England to Euro 2008.
"Ninety per cent thinks: why McClaren? But believe me, if he becomes our coach we will have a coach who is accustomed to working with top players, and he can recognise them."
McClaren has so far refused to confirm he is in the running for the post, but said yesterday: "I'm wanting to get back into the game. I'm ready now, I'm fresh, recovered."
Munsterman also claims that McClaren has confessed to him becoming that England manager was a mistake. "Looking back, he should never have become national team coach, he says now," Munsterman said. "He was too young for that task. But he was the national team coach. He knows how to handle pressure and is not afraid to take measures. He threw David Beckham out of the squad. Well, then you have guts.
"We talked with Rafael Benitez, Boudewijn Zenden, we went to Chelsea: everyone was positive about the way McClaren works. Jaap Stam found him a fantastic coach, but he added: 'You don't have to call him – he will never join FC Twente'."
He added: "Am I able to call Frank Rijkaard to become coach of FC Twente? Yes, I am, but we are on another track."
Munsterman dismissed the Dutch perception of McClaren as a typical English kick-and-rush coach, adding: "Quite to the contrary. You cannot say that Manchester United played lousy football, can you? He reformed the youth academy of Middlesbrough and formed a successful team. McClaren is a man of football, who thinks continental and he does everything with the ball."
Despite his enthusiasm for the former Middlesbrough manager, Munsterman admits he has other options. "McClaren is not our only candidate," he said. "We have more, also foreigners."