Dutch coach Maurice Steijn flattered by Ipswich Town link, but is focused on VVV-Venlo

Maurice Steijn has been linked to the top job at Ipswich Town. Picture: VI IMAGES

Maurice Steijn has been linked to the top job at Ipswich Town. Picture: VI IMAGES - Credit: PA Images

Dutch manager Maurice Steijn is flattered by rumours linking him to Ipswich Town, but says he is fully focused on continuing a remarkable job on home soil.

The 43-year-old has been hailed as Holland’s next big coaching star after recently guiding unfashionable club VVV-Venlo to the second-tier title on a shoestring budget, playing entertaining football and trusting in youth.

It’s been widely reported in the Netherlands national press that he has been lined up as a potential replacement for Mick McCarthy at Portman Road, with there still an air of uncertainty surrounding the latter’s future, but it appears that Chinese whispers have got out of hand.

Steijn is certainly baffled that a brief answer he gave at the end an hour-long radio interview over the weekend has got lost in translation.

“All I did was acknowledge that people keep on telling me that I’m a potential candidate for Ipswich,” said Steijn, speaking exclusively to the EADT and Ipswich Star. “It was in a lot of newspapers here in Holland two weeks ago and everyone was talking about it, but there has been no official contact.

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“It’s flattering, of course. Ipswich Town is a very famous club in Holland because of Frans Thijssen and Arnold Muhren and what they achieved under Sir Bobby Robson.

“But I have another year left on my contract at VVV and the club is speaking to my agent about extending that. We have just enjoyed some great celebrations and I am fully focused on trying to be a success on the smallest budget in the Eredivisie next season.”

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A midfielder who played in the Eredivisie with ADO Den Haag and NAC Breda, Steijn moved into coaching after a knee injury needed his career at the age of 27. After starting out as head of youth development at his hometown club of ADO Den Haag, he was promoted to head coach at the age of 37, but then controversially fired in February 2014 with the team 18th in the top-flight.

Venlo came calling that summer and, against the odds, he has overseen finishes of seventh, second and first.

McCarthy still has a year left on his Town contract and has signalled his intent to oversee a major rebuilding job this summer.

Owner Marcus Evans is due to have a big chat with McCarthy next week, the latter saying the pair have ‘talked around’ the big issues so far.

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