FORMER England manager Steve McClaren says luring John Terry to Cherries could be the move which kicks the club on to the "next level".

McClaren was in charge of Middlesbrough – who visit Vitality Stadium tomorrow (3pm) – for five years, before becoming boss of the Three Lions in 2006.

Under his charge the north east club scaled unprecedented heights, winning their first domestic trophy – the 2004 League Cup – and reaching the final of the UEFA Cup in his last year at the helm.

After prioritising top-flight survival during his first two seasons at the Riverside, McClaren gambled by recruiting a handful of big names to pursue silverware.

He says the presence of Brazilian maestro Juninho in his squad drew other high-profile performers to Middlesbrough – and insists Chelsea legend Terry could have a similarly galvanising effect if he moves to the south coast.

McClaren, who managed Terry on 13 occasions for the national team, told the Daily Echo: "We had difficulty, as Bournemouth are probably finding, in attracting that quality to take us to the next level.

"We attracted a few, like Gaizka Mendieta, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka: quality players but all coming to the end of their careers.

"John Terry would be an excellent signing for Bournemouth.

"You are always aiming to move up a level – to survive, then be comfortable, then become a contender. He can help you do that.

"He has that professional mentality and would have the immediate respect of all the players – and he is a damn good defender as well."

McClaren says Cherries have already served notice of their future ambitions by bringing Jack Wilshere to the club for this campaign.

Nevertheless, the ex-Newcastle boss claims clubs of Middlesbrough and Bournemouth's ilk have little hope of landing a top-class player in his peak years.

"Jack is a quality player but if you are one of the 'lesser' clubs that is what you get," said McClaren.

"You will get that bit of quality but it will have baggage. You would never get a fully fit Jack Wilshere from Arsenal.

"We couldn't have got those players to Middlesbrough in their prime and it will be the same with Bournemouth.

"You have to take a bit of a risk, bring them in when they are nearly at the end of their career – or take a gamble on youngsters at the very start of their careers."

Boro are 19th in the Premier League, three places and 11 points adrift of Eddie Howe's side ahead of this weekend's clash.

And McClaren believes Boro's plight serves to illustrate the size of Cherries' achievement to stay afloat in the Premier League.

He said: "Eddie Howe and his staff have done a fantastic job. They haven’t changed what made them successful in the Championship.

"They have made changes which have improved them but they have kept their spirit, style, organisation and identity.

"That has been rewarded by comfortably staying in the league twice. Now the expectation on them will grow."