It will be an op­por­tu­nity for him to im­ple­ment his ideas

Evening Times - - FOOTBALL -

shouldn’t be so sur­pris­ing. The Nor­we­gian ne­go­ti­ated a num­ber of loan deals for Manch­ester City play­ers (Ja­son De­nayer, John Guidetti and Pa­trick Roberts) dur­ing his stint as Celtic man­ager, with Dedryck Boy­ata also mak­ing the per­ma­nent move north from the Eti­had Sta­dium in that time. It would ap­pear that in this process Deila struck up some­thing of a re­la­tion­ship with CFG.

Deila must fo­cus on achiev­ing NYC FC’s im­me­di­ate tar­gets first. Ini­tially a home for the likes of Frank Lam­pard, An­drea Pirlo and David Villa, the club has more re­cently fo­cused on sign­ing younger play­ers with a po­ten­tial sell-on value. Alexan­dru Mitrita, for ex­am­ple, is a 24-year-old Ro­ma­nia in­ter­na­tion­al­ist signed for 8m euro last year. He­ber is a Brazil­ian striker who scored 15 goals in just 18 MLS starts last sea­son.

“The cap­tain is a guy called Alex Ring – a su­perb player, great ex­pe­ri­ence, played in

Ger­many in the Bun­desliga. He’s been all around and has found him­self a home in New York,” says Ian Joy, a Scot who is now the lead com­men­ta­tor for NYC FC’s home games – hav­ing pre­vi­ously played for Real Salt Lake and the Port­land Tim­bers.

“They also have an ex­cel­lent goal­keeper [Sean John­son] who plays for the US na­tional team and those guys kind of run the locker room.

“There’s not an a ******* , if I can say that po­litely, in there. So you’re in­her­it­ing a team that sort of runs it­self.”

But while Deila takes over a well-bal­anced and tal­ented squad, this is a club with some men­tal bag­gage.

NYC FC have earned them­selves a bit of a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing knock­out-game bot­tlers, only mak­ing it as far as the con­fer­ence semi-fi­nals last year de­spite win­ning the Eastern Con­fer­ence in the reg­u­lar sea­son.

In fact, NYC FC have won just one play­off tie in their fiveyear ex­is­tence.

Deila was fre­quently crit­i­cised for his big-game record at Celtic, in­fa­mously los­ing cup semi-fi­nals to In­ver­ness Ca­ley This­tle, Ross County and even Rangers, who were still in Scot­land’s sec­ond tier at that time.

Deila was also cul­pa­ble of fail­ing to qual­ify for the Cham­pi­ons League group stage. This is some­thing he will need to im­prove on if he is to take New York City FC to where they want to go.

The Nor­we­gian is, how­ever, a mod­ern coach with mod­ern ideas about the game. Some of those ideas were too pro­gres­sive for Scot­tish foot­ball tra­di­tion­al­ists, but Deila is a good fit for a club that wants to play an at­trac­tive, dy­namic game as well as pro­vide a plat­form for youth.

There “will be an op­por­tu­nity for him to im­ple­ment his own ideas,” ac­cord­ing to Joy, but the Nor­we­gian will be ex­pected to fit into a front of­fice in­fra­struc­ture that has sus­tained the club for a num­ber of years. It could pro­vide Deila with the sort of safety net he never truly had at Celtic.

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