Former Croatia national manager Igor Stimac has surprisingly touted none other than Derby County manager Steve McClaren as the best coach in England.
Derby County legend Igor Stimac was invited down to the newly named iPro Stadium at the weekend and was quick to voice his opinion on the club. He had special praise for management staff at Pride Park and even left the door open to a role at the club in the future.
''In such a short time, Stevie has created a positive atmosphere. He's done a wonderful job. He has changed the ambiance totally.
''His way of leading football is great and his coaching methods are well known and respected around the world.
''You can see people here smiling and you can feel the positive attitude.
''Stevie, Paul (Simpson) and Eric (Steele) were the ones who created this and I strongly believe they can produce good results for Derby County this season''
The 46-year-old former West Ham United defender has experienced life under Steve McClaren and Eric Steele's authority before, and is an old team-mate of Paul Simpson. So he has enjoyed a good working relationship with them all before, and will know what they're all about.
Earlier before the game against Blackpool where Derby County ran out 5-1 winners, former Radio Derby matchday correspondent Colin Bloomfield tweeted a part of a conversation he had with the Croatian.
Sitting next to Igor Stimac in the Toyota lounge today. He says Steve McLaren is the 'best coach in England.'— Colin Bloomfield (@ColinBloomfield) December 7, 2013
It is very high praise from a player that is as well-traveled as he is, but falls in line with other comments made about the 'wally with a brolly'. One of the managers the Croatian has inadvertently lessened him to, Harry Redknapp, also had high praise for the former Middlesbrough manager on his move to Derby County:
HR: 'It was great to have Steve [McClaren] with us. He's another top coach. I was very impressed with him in his time here.' #QPRvDER— QPR FC (@OfficialQPR) November 1, 2013
And If that wasn't praise enough, then this may be.
Possibly the hardest man to please in football, Joey Barton has slammed the coaching standard in this country, the quality of players in this country and even called Sir Alex Ferguson a poor coach (but a good manager) and couldn't have been much stronger in his praise for the now Derby County manager, saying:
Gutted Steve McClaren has left for Derby. Top coach. Big loss for us. Wish him all the best at a great football club.— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) September 30, 2013
Obviously there is a big difference between coaching and management, but the once soiled manager has soon become one of the hottest talking points in the country with his success at Derby County. The Rams have experienced 7 wins from 9 games since his return and look like they could be nailed on for a play-off place at the very least.
He has experienced working with the biggest and best players in the world, being a key component in Sir Alex Ferguson's coaching staff during their historical treble in 1999 and is one of the most successful British managers to work abroad.So is it any surprise that he is currently enjoying the success he is at the minute, I would argue not. It's all too easy to look at the failures and there have been some high profile ones at that, but he has done brilliantly at other clubs and has built up good reputation within the game.
To even be compared to the likes of Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Chelsea's Jose Mourinho is praise in itself, and he will no doubt continue to rebuild his reputation at the club where his managerial journey started.
And In-light of the recent FA Cup draw, he will now have the chance to test his wits against the Portuguese manager, as he looks to pull off one of the cup upsets in the early rounds.
image: © jasonparis