McClaren heads for Germany as Wolfsburg win race to sign him

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The Independent Football

Steve McClaren yesterday called time on "two fantastic years" in the Netherlands to join the German club Wolfsburg.

The former England manager has rebuilt his reputation at FC Twente, leading the previously unheralded club to their first Eredivisie title in the season that has just finished. That achievement caught the eye of several clubs around Europe with Wolfsburg winning the chase for the 49-year-old's signature.

McClaren signed a two-year deal at the Volkswagen Arena which starts on 1 July but admitted he was leaving the Netherlands with a heavy heart. "I had two fantastic years at Twente," he said. "The staff were fantastic and the players gave me everything. I leave with great memories and sadness in my heart. But I continue to the next challenge and hope to return one day to a country which has been so good to me."

McClaren admitted his family had been a major factor in his decision to move after confirming they will now relocate from England to Lower Saxony.

"I had promised my wife and children that I would not be away from them for more than two years," he said. "We will all live together in Germany." McClaren's failure to lead England to the finals of Euro 2008 is well documented but he made an impression on the Twente players. Full-back Dwight Tiendalli said: "McClaren was a father figure. Sometimes he was stern but he was also fun. He is a perfect coach."

Defender Peter Wisgerhof added: "For Twente and for myself I find it very sad. It's weird that we will possibly never see each other again."

McClaren will become the first Englishman to take charge of a Bundesliga club and takes over a Wolfsburg side which finished eighth after winning the title in 2009.

McClaren launched his managerial career at Middlesbrough in 2001 after serving as assistant to Jim Smith at Derby and then Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, where he was part of the set-up which claimed an unprecedented treble, including the Champions League, in 1999.

In five years on Teesside he brought the club their first major trophy, the 2004 Carling Cup, their highest Premier League finish – seventh – and taken them to the Uefa Cup final. A 4-0 defeat by Seville in Eindhoven in that final proved to be his last game in charge as the Football Association appointed him as Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor as England manager in August 2006.