McClaren 'stronger' for England failure

Steve McClaren believes he has grown since his time in charge of England as he prepares to lead Newcastle into the Premier League season.

Newcastle United head coach Steve McClaren admits he was too young to take the England job, one he feels nearly killed him.

McClaren was appointed the manager of the national team in 2006, but lasted just 16 months as England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 under his guidance.

Then in his mid-40s, McClaren said that experience had made him stronger - as had stints abroad in charge of Twente and Wolfsburg.

"Maybe I was too young at the time for England and I hold my hands up to that," the 54-year-old said.

"On reflection, I definitely hold my hands up to that. But the England job didn't kill me - well it nearly did - so it must have made me stronger.

"I think subsequently moving abroad and coaching in different leagues not so much hardens as matures you."

McClaren is expecting "massive pressure" in charge of Newcastle, who were in danger of suffering relegation before finishing 15th in the Premier League last season.

Newcastle open their 2015-16 league campaign at home to Southampton on Sunday.

"England is very difficult to describe," McClaren said.

"Stood on the sidelines, 90,000 people, a nation watching on TV, a nation on your shoulders, a nation of expectation. I think it was described at the time as there is nothing greater pressure-wise than that England job, or a national manager's job.

"Putting it into perspective, that was a whole nation, now we are talking about a region. But this region is one of the biggest. Newcastle, 50,000 people, absolute fanatics, it is like a religion. It is huge, and a massive pressure.

"But I think all football is. The two jobs have totally different pressures. England was quite big."