Football

McClaren confirms Villa approach

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Steve McClaren has confirmed that he was approached by Aston Villa about becoming their manager - but the new Nottingham Forest boss said that talks were abandoned before he had a chance to be interviewed.

McClaren had emerged as a frontrunner to replace Gerard Houllier at Villa Park and was due to meet club officials before Villa had a change of heart and instead turned their interest to Alex McLeish, who resigned from city rivals Birmingham on Sunday.

There were suggestions that a negative response from supporters led to Villa's decision, but the 50-year-old insists he is not dwelling on what happened. McClaren said: "There was an approach, an appointment was set up that wasn't fulfilled. I moved on."

He added: "At the time it was a disappointment, but I've had many highs and lows in my career. You quickly move on."

McClaren also revealed that a return to Dutch club FC Twente, where he won the Eredivisie title in 2010, had been one of several other offers he had received to remain on the continent.

But the former Middlesbrough manager insists the challenge of carrying on the good work of his predecessor Billy Davies was the reason he wanted to return to English club management at the City Ground after a five-year absence.

"I could have stayed in Europe, I had three or four offers to do that. I could have gone back to FC Twente. But I wanted a fresh challenge. I wanted a big challenge back in this country," said McClaren, who has signed a three-year contract at the npower Championship club.

"You can smell the history and tradition of this great club when you walk through the doors. I passed the two European Cups and pictures of Brian Clough when I arrived this morning and you have to embrace that.

"Billy Davies did a great job here for two-and-a-half years and I have a lot of respect for that when you consider where the club was when he took over. He saved the club from relegation and got them to the brink (of promotion) on two occasions. He is a great manager but the board here felt that it was time to change something.

"I have to pick up the baton and I wouldn't be sat here if I didn't think I was the man to fulfil everybody's dream of playing in the Premier League. That is the ultimate goal."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Football
Championship
Premier League
Alex
Nottingham Forest
Aston Villa
Birmingham
Middlesbrough
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