McClaren ‘can handle pressure’

But the former England left-back, who played for the Magpies between 1997 and 1999, believes the ex-national team coach would have to win the St James??? Park fans over as soon as possible if he is to be successful.

Pearce feels McClaren???s experiences in the high-pressure environment of international football would make it much easier for him to deal with the situation at Newcastle, who only avoided relegation out of the Premier League on the final day of the season.

And he also feels the former Derby County boss – who is expected to be confirmed as Newcastle manager this week – would be an excellent selection for the north-east club.

???For him I don???t think it is a big jump, when you???ve managed England and the expectation that comes with England,??? Pearce told Sky Sports News HQ.

???Pressure at club level is probably smaller than that. I think he has done fantastically well with Middleborough, taking them to European finals and at Derby he did extremely well last year.

???At FC Twente I was fortunate enough to be able to sit in on a team meeting with him. It was arguably one of the best team meetings I???ve ever sat in as a bystander at the back.

???I thought to myself if I was a player of his would I know exactly what I need to achieve in the game, what was expected of me coming up against Ajax and what they are going to throw at us.

???It was probably the most concise team meeting I???ve ever listened to as a player and as a manager.???

Should McClaren get the Newcastle job, he will inherit a role at a club whose supporters have become very disillusioned in recent years.

Protests against owner Mike Ashley have become commonplace and the supporters are desperate for some on-field success after watching the side lose 13 of its final 20 games last season.

That run almost culminated in relegated from the Premier League but with that status secure, McClaren would face the challenge of winning the hearts and minds of the supporters in the way Kevin Keegan did in the mid-1990s.

???The first thing he has to do is get the fans on his side,??? he said. ???Kevin Keegan did that fantastically. The fans and the football club were one when Keegan was there.

???That football club and that city was united. Kevin had that club going forward with momentum and everyone had a smile on their face. ??

???The first thing Steve has to do is put a smile back on the supporters??? faces and make them feel inclusive at that football club.

???The Newcastle fans want to see a football club where they feel at home and they feel valued by the club in its entirety. Steve has to go in and lead that.???