He loves tech­nique, skills and tricks...

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Dunlavy

WHAT will Ri­cardo Moniz bring to Notts County? Well, pre­cisely 96 dif­fer­ent ways to beat a de­fender for starters!

“That’s what he used to tell us,” said Tom Hud­dle­stone, who worked with the Dutch­man at Tot­ten­ham un­der Martin Jol. “And he wasn’t ly­ing – Ri­cardo taught an amaz­ing amount of lit­tle tricks and skills.”

Yes, Moniz is the anti-Mour­inho. If the Por­tuguese is to foot­ball what Bru­tal­ism was to ar­chi­tec­ture, then the new Mag­pies boss is the game’s Gaudi, all frip­pery and flam­boy­ance. Moniz is a man for whom team and tac­tics should al­ways be sec­ondary to in­di­vid­ual bril­liance.

In the era of prozone and per­cent­ages, that may sound hope­lessly naive. But as we watch the likes of Harry Kane and Ryan Ma­son tear up the Pre­mier League, it is worth re­mem­ber­ing that much of their devel­op­ment sprang from the blue­prints Moniz left be­hind.

“Ri­cardo left a last­ing im­pres­sion,” said Spurs goal­keep­ing coach Rob Burch, a player dur­ing Moniz’s three years as a coach at White Hart Lane un­der Jol.

“He did a lot of work with play­ers on the tech­ni­cal side and his le­gacy was such that a lot of the drills and ses­sions he brought to the club are still be­ing used now.”

To un­der­stand Moniz, we must first un­der­stand the teach­ings of Wiel Co­erver, a pi­o­neer­ing but largely over­looked Dutch coach nick­named ‘the Al­bert Ein­stein of foot­ball’.

Co­erver, who died in 2012, be­lieved for many years that mod­ern train­ing meth­ods were deeply flawed, with a de­vo­tion to shape and tac­tics hin­der­ing in­di­vid- ual ex­pres­sion. “Not one per­cent of the top play­ers can pass an op­po­nent,” he said in 2003.“I do not mean one time or so, but reg­u­larly, as Gar­rin­cha

and

Matthews could. It is a ques­tion of bet­ter and more train­ing.”

This, then, was the Co­erver method, a style of train­ing that fo­cussed al­most ex­clu­sively on de­vel­op­ing flaw­less tech­nique, in­spired by watch­ing end­less videos of the world’s finest play­ers.

Un­der Co­erver, play­ers didn’t just ‘hit the tar­get’. They learned how to shoot per­fectly with both feet, to hit a spe­cific area of the goal, to fool a goal­keeper

or chip him from any dis­tance. Play­ers were told to walk home from train­ing with a ball at their feet, tricks were ac­tively taught, viewed not as show­boat­ing but as in­valu­able tools of the trade.

Per­haps the most fa­mous ex­po­nent is Ar­jen Robben, whose in­fa­mous self­ish­ness was en­cour­aged by Co­erver dur­ing the Bay­ern Mu­nich’s man’s for­ma­tive years at Gronin­gen. “The best play­ers take no no­tice of ass­holes on the side of the pitch that say they must get rid of the ball,” said Co­erver. “Ar­jen is like that. So was Cruyff.”

So where does Moniz come in? A com­pe­tent but un­re­mark­able de­fender who bounced be­tween Hol­land’s top two tiers, the 50year-old met Co­erver at a mo­tel in Eind­hoven in the late 90s and from that mo­ment on was a devo­tee.

A youth coach at Feyeno­ord, he worked with a young Robin van Per­sie, then man­aged the youth team at PSV be­fore join­ing Jol as ‘skills coach’ at Spurs in 2005.

Hud­dle­stone cred­its Moniz with im­prov­ing his long-range shoot­ing, Jer­main De­foe with his sleight of foot. Gareth Bale was an­other who spent hours on the train­ing pitch hon­ing his tal­ents.

Ben­e­fit­ted

It was, how­ever, the younger gen­er­a­tion – the likes of Kane, Ma­son and Danny Rose – who ben­e­fit­ted most.

“Ri­cardo did a lot of good work with the club de­vel­op­ing some of our younger play­ers com­ing through the re­serve team,” said for­mer Spurs skip­per Led­ley King.

“You saw that they all re­ally im­proved tech­ni­cally from work- ing with him, es­pe­cially the re­ally young play­ers, the kids of ten, 11 and 12. Ri­cardo would be there for hours in the dome of the Spurs Lodge train­ing ground, teach­ing them tricks and skills.”

Though a popular char­ac­ter with play­ers, man­age­ment was a long time com­ing. It wasn’t un­til 2011 that Moniz be­came head coach at Red Bull Salzburg, yet the wait was worth it as he be­came the first manager in Aus­trian his­tory to se­cure a League and Cup dou­ble in his de­but sea­son.

Ini­tial suc­cess has, how­ever, proved dif­fi­cult to sus­tain. Af­ter leav­ing Salzburg due to a clash with club di­rec­tors in the sum­mer of 2012, Moniz moved to Hungarian gi­ants Ferenc­varos, only for his mid­dling 18-month ten­ure to end in the sack.

Brief stints at Lechia Gdansk in Poland and Ger­man side 1860 Mu­nich also yielded lit­tle suc­cess, dis­missal from the lat­ter com­ing just six months into a two-year con­tract.

Now Notts County have of­fered a chance to rebuild in Eng­land’s third tier.

“It was al­ways my dream to re­turn to Eng­land,” said Moniz, who has made no prom­ise about keep­ing strug­gling County in League One. What he will bring, says 1860 chief of sport Ger­hard Poschner, is pas­sion.

“Ri­cardo is ob­sessed with suc­cess, and very emo­tional,” he said. “He is never sat­is­fied and de­feat just eats at him.”

PAS­SION­ATE: Ri­cardo Moniz gets his mes­sage across to his play­ers

PLAY­ING DAYS: Moniz in ac­tion for Haar­lem in 1985

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