McClaren's reputation is still tarnished in England, something he readily admits himself. The carnage of the national job made him a pariah -- Aston Villa decided to cancel his interview for the manager's role back in July 2011 following an outburst of criticism from supporters.
But there is no bitterness or hint of regret in his voice, just a sense of realism in what has passed.
"I've been fortunate to have been given that opportunity and it's a great honor," he said.
"It was a period of great learning and yes, I do feel that at the time, it was too early for me.
"I didn't deal with the sideshow. I thought I was unlucky on the field at the wrong times but that's no excuse.
"It was great experience and exposure and I think that has helped me to cope abroad, to have that experience. Also, having managed England, it gave me the opportunity to manage abroad. I've a better reputation abroad.
"Very few people survive the job and come out the other end with their reputation intact. If you do, you've done very well."