“I’m ready to show my worth as a No.1,” new West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke has insisted after finally deciding to step out of the shadows and have a crack at top-level management.
The 48-year-old Scot has served his time working as an assistant behind the likes of Bobby Robson, Jose Mourinho and Kenny Dalglish but now is his time to shine.
Clarke will use all of his experience from previous roles at Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool to help fill the boots left by England manager Roy Hodgson, and the newly-installed head coach admits that he can’t wait to get underway.
“I worked with Sir Bobby when I was really young. I had only just come out of playing so I was like a sponge, soaking up everything I could.
“Man-management and how to handle people was the biggest thing I took from Sir Bobby. He was great.
“From Jose, I took his thorough attention to detail. Everything he did was set out, almost from the first minute I met him.
“Every training session was meticulously planned, even down to the different colours on his notepads.
“I always knew what I was doing and when he put the training session down in front of me and said ‘you have to cover that bit’, I knew exactly what I had to do and how to do it, so that was an education in itself.
“I learned a little bit from Jose on how to handle the media because he was media-friendly.
“If you come from Scotland Kenny Dalglish is the top legend, so the opportunity to work with Kenny at a club where he is revered was too much to turn down.
“And from Kenny I learned a bit about the old-style management because Kenny was a manager and I was the person taking training.
“Just watching how Kenny worked with me and the players and brought it all together was also education.
“Hopefully I’ve taken all the good bits. I can’t be anyone else.
“I can’t be a Mourinho personality, or be like Kenny Dalglish or Sir Bobby Robson. I’ll just be me.
“I’ll take all those good bits and I’ll be Steve Clarke. Hopefully that will be enough to be a successful coach.”
Clarke will work alongside current coaching staff members Keith Downing and Dean Kiely.
The respective assistant and goalkeeping coaches both worked well under Hodgson and will stay on despite the head-coach shake-up.
There may also be room for Clarke to add to his back-room staff should he decide to.