Steve McLaren
McClaren says "character" in new signings is key heading into his first season.Getty Images

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren says "character" will be the key characteristic he looks for in potential new signings.

The former England and Middlesbrough boss has agreed a three-year deal with the north east club, succeeding John Carver after his dismissal at St James' Park.

After a campaign where Newcastle flirted with relegation up to the final day of the campaign before victory over West Ham United secured their top flight status, McClaren is expected to overhaul his squad this summer.

Following preliminary talks with head scout Graham Carr, McClaren says he already has an idea of what kind of players he wants to recruit.

"There is expectation here, and 52,000 fans demand a performance," he told The Mirror. "To do that we need characters. I've had a long chat with Graham. Top of the formula in terms of recruitment is character. Everything starts with that.

"I've worked abroad and with foreign players, and I had foreigners at Middlesbrough. It doesn't matter where they are from if they have character. That's what we have to recruit. We can't stand still in football. We can't just say we'll make these players better. If you stand still you go backwards. It is a unique club. Sometimes good players go to a big club and the shirt is too big for them. They cross the white line and they can't deliver."

Queens Park Rangers forward Charlie Austin has been heavily linked with a move to Newcastle, who finished in 17th in the Premier League last season.

McClaren has been set the target of a regular finish inside the top eight and to win a domestic cup competition in his initial three years in charge at Newcastle, a club who have not won a piece of major silverware since 1969.

"This club has waited far too long to win a trophy, we owe it to the supporters to do everything we can to reward them with success," he added.

"I am determined to give the supporters a team they can be proud of. I have already won trophies as a manager and a club the size of Newcastle should be winning cups and finishing in the top eight of the Premier League."