And if his first act on Tuesday night is anything to go by then Rams fans could be in for a treat.
McClaren, appointed as successor to Nigel Clough, was only supposed to be a spectator against Ipswich but when Derby found themselves 4-1 down at half-time he left his seat in the stands and made his way to the dressing room - making two telling substitutions and delivering the half-time team talk.
His rallying call inspired a second-half fightback which saw County rescue a point from a 4-4 draw.
It was some way to announce his arrival and make a start of banishing the "stigma" that McClaren admits has tarnished his career in this country following his difficult spells in charge of the national team and Nottingham Forest.
Since failing to guide England to the 2008 European Championship, McClaren has won the Eredivisie in Holland with FC Twente, becoming the first English first-team coach since the late Sir Bobby Robson to lift a league title abroad.
He is highly regarded across Europe but has been a figure of ridicule at home, with a 111-day stint at Forest providing further fuel for his critics.
But after rejecting offers on the continent before returning to Derby, where he was a player in the mid-late 1980s and a decade later assistant manager under Jim Smith, McClaren is full of vigour and ideas about changing English perceptions of him.
"I've spoken to other England managers and we stick together, we're like a club and we understand that when we take the job you have to take the consequences," said McClaren.
"We're targets, rightly so, because we're the front people. The England job is magnified 10 times more than club football. Time heals, and it has.
"There is life after England. I went to FC Twente and proved that. But you get stigmatised as an ex-England manager.
"I had my opportunities. I could've stayed abroad and I feel my reputation abroad is better than what it is in England, but I wanted to come back.
"I've learned lessons from the last time I was in England with Nottingham Forest. I made mistakes there and tried to change too much, too quickly. I didn't bide my time. But that was entirely my fault, nobody else's."
Prior to getting the England job McClaren's CV was impeccable.
He helped Derby win promotion to the Premier League during the 1995/96 season before leaving to become Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United where he was part of the 1999 treble-winning team.
He won the League Cup with Middlesbrough in 2004 - still the club's only major trophy in its history - and two years later guided Boro to the UEFA Cup final.
While keen to remind people in this country of his capabilities, the 52-year-old insists he does not have anything prove.
"I have had a lot of highs and a lot of lows, but that's normal," said McClaren.
"I can coach, but I've also proved I can manage. I've proved I can be successful, but I've also proved I can fail.
"I'm not desperate to change people's opinions, I don't feel I have anything to prove. As you get older, you get wiser. I know what I can do.
"And what I want to do here is put a Derby team out that excites the fans. We want to get the fans excited because they are the most important people.
"It is about giving the fans some excitement. It is about bringing players in who get people off their seats.
"When we were last here, we had the likes of Igor Stimac, Paulo Wanchope, Aljosa Asanovic, Francesco Baiano and Stefano Eranio.
"They were quality players, good quality players picked up for peanuts who got you off your seats. People would pay money to come and watch them.
"That is the dream and I am excited we have the opportunity to do that with good people here."