Just remembered an article rjbiii sent me:
McClaren proved, however, with Twente in the Netherlands that success can be achieved without an open cheque book. In 2010 he became the first Englishman since Sir Bobby Robson, with Porto in 1996, to win a major European league title. “One story highlights my whole experience in Holland,” he says, recalling the two seasons spent with Twente. “We found out a team were going to play a different system against us to counter what we do, so we got a 21-year‑old midfielder in and said: ‘How do you think we should counter our opponent’s system?’
“He proceeded to talk for 20 minutes on the tactical aspects of our game plan, in terms of how we defended and attacked. After 20 minutes, I said: ‘Very good, that’s exactly what we said we were going to do!’ I said: ‘By the way, when did you learn that?’ He said: ‘We’ve been doing this since we were eight or nine.’ What they’re teaching their players is about formations and your job within that formation, and how to solve problems on the field themselves. Could I have that conversation with a 21-year-old in England?”
It may come as a surprise to some but it is rare to hear players talk about football away from their place of work. Although most love to play, I haven’t found too many who are overly enthusiastic about dissecting the finer points and, out of all the football being played, international matches outside of the major tournaments are far and away those that nobody wants to discuss.
The most that foreign players who go away on international duty generally get from a team-mate on their return is, “Who did you play again?” followed by “Oh, right, how did you get on?”. The internationals, on the other hand, are much more interested to find out what happened in Marbella and why one player in particular disappeared for 48 hours and emerged only at the airport, soaking wet and minus his shoes. At least he had his passport.