Ex-Real Madrid coach Vincente del Bosque is set to take charge of European Championship holders Spain until the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. With this move to a tried-and-tested, older manager could this point to the end for young ex-players?
The president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) Angel Maria Villar proposed the nomination of del Bosque to the executive committee which was accepted.
As the double Champions League winner settles into his chair at the Real Federación Española de Fútbol offices, having succeeded new Fenerbahce coach Luis Aragones, a trend can be spotted in international football.
In the summer of 2006, a handful of top European countries turned to bright, young ex-players with little, or no, managerial experience to guide them to international glory. Germany and Jurgen Klinsmann, Holland and Marco van Basten, Italy and Roberto Donadoni.
Lets forward ourselves two years: Holland’s naive defence was breached by Russia, under the experienced Guus Hiddink. Donadoni’s mismanagement of the World Cup winners exposed young ex-players as perhaps not the greatest choice for major tournaments. They may have experience of playing international football but management is more than that. Jose Mourinho is a great example. Never a good player, yet a great manager.
Have football associations now realised that international football needs an experienced and talented manager? Have they seen Guus Hiddink and the experience he has pay dividends with the four countries he has managed? Preparing a team for competitive games when only seeing them every two months (at best) shows a manager for what he truly is. England opted for a proven manager in Fabio Capello. Italy reinstated the World Cup winning Marcelo Lippi. Spain have turned to a proven, trophy-winning manager in Vincente del Bosque.
Granted, Klinsmann went of his own accord after rejuvenating the German side, and van Basten got the Dutch playing football reminiscent of the 1970’s, but the trend is there for all to see.
Franz Beckenbauer, a man I have always admired, is a beam of light that is a constant counter-claim to this current trend. He expertly managed to guide West Germany to the 1986 World Cup final. Four years later, he went one step better and won the World Cup in Italy, at just 45 years of age.
So it may seem at the moment that the larger European teams who have not given a young ex-player the reigns are not willing to take the gamble. But the Dutch and Germans who did, may continue beyond their current coaches and bring around the next Franz Beckenbauer. As always with international football, there won’t be a quick answer, it’ll take some time to see.