Steve McClaren latest: Newcastle manager 'all smiles' after talks with club official on phone

McClaren was due to meet the club's managing director Lee Charnley on Wednesday afternoon

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The Independent Football

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren has spoken to managing director Lee Charnley about his future despite a planned face-to-face meeting on Wednesday not taking place.

It is understood that the pair discussed the situation over the telephone before McClaren, who had earlier taking training for the second successive day, left the club's Darsley Park training headquarters and headed home.

Reports had suggested McClaren and Charnley were to hold showdown talks at St James' Park.

What was said between the two men remains unclear and the club were not commenting this evening, but 54-year-old McClaren was wearing a broad smile as cameras captured him walking towards his car.

McClaren arrived to take training on Wednesday as usual amid reports that the club were attempting to identify his potential successor. Former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez has been heavily linked to St. James' Park, alongside ex-Manchester United boss David Moyes.

However, McClaren had not been informed of any change to his role and proceeded to take training as normal. His future was thrown into further uncertainty when his pre-match press conference, scheduled for Thursday, was called off.

It was then reported by The Mirror that McClaren would meet with Charnley on Wednesday afternoon to discuss his future, with the manager angry that the club had not attempted to cool the speculation surrounding his job in recent weeks.

It was have been the first time that McClaren has spoken with Charnley since last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat by Bournemouth, which left the Magpies second from bottom in the league table, one point behind north-east rivals Sunderland.

McClaren was also due to face the media on Thursday ahead of Monday’s Premier League trip to leaders Leicester, but he will not make an appearance this week. With no reason given for the cancellation, his immediate future at St James’ Park is believed to be in serious jeopardy.

While Newcastle’s season run-in offers them a glimmer of hope in the quest for Premier League survival – games against Liverpool and Tottenham are on paper the hardest of their remaining fixtures – it is believed that a board meeting took place on Sunday without McClaren, where Charnley and club owner Mike Ashley were said to have held talks about replacing McClaren.

But rather than sack the former England manager immediately, it has been reported that Ashley wanted to sound out a replacement before announcing the decision over McClaren’s future.

Additional reporting by the Press Association