Ex-Birmingham and Aston Villa boss hoping to unearth more Belgian gems


In his bid to get his managerial career back on track with KRC Genk, Alex McLeish is also hoping to develop the latest up-and-coming Belgian football talents.

Alex McLeish is targeting success at the helm of KRC Genk this season, after ending his 18-month spell out of the game to take charge of the Belgian outfit last month.

The club have got off to a slow start so far, winning one and drawing four of their opening six league games, but the former Scotland manager is confident that results will come in due time, while also revealing that he hopes to unearth even more talent from the side which has brought through players like Thibaut Courtois, Christian Benteke and Kevin De Bruyne in recent seasons.

‘Any role I’ve ever gone into I’ve always wanted to win. I’ve had a lot of success in my playing career and some success in my managerial career – enough for me to say I’ve had a good one,’ he told Sky Sports News HQ.

‘I still feel there’s a lot of life left in me yet for more success and it’s a great chance for me to come to Belgium, where players have emerged over here during the past seasons to form quite a fantastic national team.

‘And of course, unfortunately when the players in the Belgian league become half-good they get plucked by the giant clubs around Europe. still, I hope that we can produce one or two more because that would mean we’re doing well.’

After starting his managerial career with stints at Motherwell and Hibernian, McLeish would have his most successful spell at Rangers, winning the treble in 2002-03 among two league titles, two Scottish Cups and three Scottish League Cups.

Leaving the club in 2006, before a brief spell in charge of Scotland in 2007, the ex-Aberdeen defender went on to have mixed success at Birmingham, leading the side to the 2010-11 League Cup, but also being relegated from the Premier League twice, before his controversial appointment at fierce rivals Aston Villa in June 2011 saw him last just one season with the claret and blues.

The 55-year-old’s previous job prior to taking up the Genk position was a 41-day reign at Nottingham Forest which was ended over a transfer dispute but, despite those recent failings, the Scot insists that his time in England served him well going forward.

‘I’ve taken on some tough jobs in England,’ he said. ‘The Birmingham job was one where I thought I could have been there for 10 years if other things didn’t happen, but it wasn’t to be and I quickly moved on.

‘Going to Villa and having just one year there was clearly never enough time to turn things around, but I knew in reality it probably wasn’t a great fit.

‘As for Forest, I don’t see why it should [be viewed as a failure]. You have to show you’ve got principals and that’s why I chose that time to shake hands with Fawaz Al-Hasawi [the chairman], and I’m glad to see them doing well now.’

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