Mags quick on the ball for McClaren

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren
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Newcastle United’s players have been on the ball in pre-season training, with new head coach Steve McClaren wasting no time in getting his football philosophy across to his squad.

The Magpies’ players usually do fitness testing and running after reporting back for the start of pre-season training. But McClaren, assisted by incoming No 2 Ian Cathro, got the balls out on Wednesday.

And yesterday the players did more ball work as McClaren started to work on possession and shape.

Asked about the early use of the ball in pre-season, McClaren said: “It’s vital. We play football with the ball, so it’s vital that we do that. The players enjoy that, but I do also.”

Newcastle open their pre-season campaign with a friendly against Gatesheadnext Friday before heading across the Atlantic for a three-match tour of the USA.

And McClaren is looking to quickly get his ideas across to the squad. “It’s a shorter pre-season,” said McClaren. “We’ve got 10 days hard work before we go to America.

“We want to get some structure and ball work into the players and try and incorporate the two – fitness work and ball work.”

Goalkeeper Tim Krul and midfielder Moussa Sissoko will report back on Monday. The pair were given extra days off because of their involvement with Holland and France respectively this summer.