Football: McClaren named Newcastle head coach

LONDON (AFP) - Former England manager Steve McClaren has been appointed the new head coach of Newcastle United on an initial three-year contract, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

McClaren, 54, succeeds John Carver, whose departure was confirmed earlier on Wednesday, and has a clause in his contract that could see it extended to eight years, the club said.

"I am privileged to be appointed head coach of Newcastle United. This is a big club with a wonderful heritage," McClaren said in a statement on the Newcastle website.

"St James' Park is like a cathedral on a Saturday afternoon, a symbol for the city, and I am excited to be given this opportunity."

McClaren reportedly turned down an approach from Newcastle when the club's former manager Alan Pardew left for Crystal Palace in January, which saw Carver promoted from his role as assistant.

But a return of three wins from 19 Premier League games nixed Carver's hopes of securing the job on a permanent basis and with McClaren out of work following his sacking by Derby County in May, Newcastle went back to him.

"Steve has been tasked to secure a top-eight finish in the Premier League and he is also heavily incentivised to try to win a cup competition," said managing director Lee Charnley.

"We recognise supporters' strong desire to win a trophy, an ambition which the club now shares as (owner) Mike Ashley made clear in his comments on the final day of the season.

"Steve is excited by this and he has our full support in trying to achieve this goal."

Newcastle, which only avoided relegation from the Premier League on the season's final day, had earlier announced the exits of Carver and coach Steve Stone, freeing McClaren to bring in his own back-room staff.