McClen hints at exit

Last updated : 27 May 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The 24-year-old signed a new contract last summer and is highly rated by Sir Bobby but a series of injuries and the continuing arrival of new midfielders at the club restricted him just to one game last season.

McClen is a product of the youth system at St James’ Park but has had to watch as Laurent Robert, Jermaine Jenas, Hugo Viana, Darren Ambrose and Lee Bowyer have arrived in the last two seasons, as well as being overtaken in the first team reckoning by Brian Kerr.

And now it seems he’s had enough.

"I have my ups and downs and at times it's difficult to keep motivating yourself when all you can see is reserve team football," he told The Journal.

"On the other hand, though, I'm at the club I supported as a lad and whenever I do leave St James', I know I'll have mixed emotions.

"Whether a club comes in for me this summer, and whether the gaffer will accept an offer, I really don't know.

"But I look at my old mate Lloyder (David Beharall) at Oldham and I have to admit to missing the excitement of first-team football."

McClen would probably have had an impact on the first team if we hadn’t progressed so far in the past two years, but unfortunately for him he now has to compete with a number of full internationals for a place in the first team.

Hopefully he’ll be able to get himself fixed up with another Premiership or top Division One club if he does eventually decide to leave.