It is understood McClaren, who was sacked as England coach in ignominious fashion after a 3-2 defeat to Croatia ten years ago, contacted the Gorgie club to declare his interest.
McClaren has been a recent visitor to Tynecastle and sat in the old main stand to watch Hearts defeat Rangers 2-0 in November last year. He was entertained in the boardroom after what was former head coach Robbie Neilson’s last match in charge of Hearts.
Then in charge at Championship side Derby County, McClaren ventured north to scout several Hearts players, who he later revealed to be Callum Paterson, Jamie Walker, Bjorn Johnsen and John Souttar.
Although this visit was only nine months ago, Hearts have already appointed and then sacked a head coach in the meantime, with Cathro leaving a week ago today after just 30 matches in charge.
McClaren would fit the profile of experienced coach reported to be required by Hearts after the experiment with the 31 year-old Cathro, in his first head coach role, failed to produce results.
McClaren, 56, has worked at Twente Enschede, Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest since leaving the England post after the failure to reach Euro 2008.
His most recent managerial berth was a second spell in charge at Derby County, which ended in March when he was sacked by the club for the second time in under two years.
McClaren’s latest spell there ended after what was described by the club in a statement as a “significant, unexpected and persistent decline in results, team unity and morale”.
Hearts chairwoman Ann Budge has stated Hearts have the “luxury of time” to consider their options because of the staff already in place.
Under-20s coach Jon Daly has been placed in interim charge with help from first-team coach Liam Fox and assistant head coach Austin MacPhee, who it’s understood will remain in the same role once a new head coach is appointed.
The temporary management team watched as Hearts began the league season with a 4-1 defeat to Celtic on Saturday. They are continuing to prepare for Saturday’s trip to face Kilmarnock this weekend, the second of a four-match run of away fixtures before Hearts return to Edinburgh to face Aberdeen at BT Murrayfield on 9 September.
Hearts are not scheduled to return to Tynecastle until November, on completion of the delayed construction of the new main stand.