Por­tu­gal

World Soccer - - Contents - Klaas-Jan Drop­pert

It was al­ready writ­ten in the stars; it was only a mat­ter of time. Ever since the early days of his play­ing ca­reer, no one doubted that Mark Van Bom­mel would one day be­come a coach. Or that it would be with PSV, the club he served for seven years in two spells, scor­ing 52 goals in 197 games.

The only sur­prise was the tim­ing. But when Phillip Cocu moved to Fener­bahce, PSV’s board did not hes­i­tate to ap­point their ex-mid­fielder.

“Two years ago we started this route with Mark Van Bom­mel. He is now ready for it,” de­clared gen­eral man­ager Toon Ger­brands. “Mark is a win­ner when it comes to learn­ing. He’s very de­ter­mined to de­velop him­self.”

And the club’s new coach could only agree, stat­ing: “You can’t di­rect the mo­ment but I’ve got the right equip­ment to start this chal­lenge.”

Van Bom­mel is the lat­est in what is an in­ter­est­ing strat­egy from Hol­land’s top three clubs. For­mer na­tional team­mates Frank De Boer, Gio­vanni Van Bron­ck­horst and Cocu have all been ap­pointed as head coaches in re­cent

years de­spite hav­ing lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence. De Boer won four ti­tles at Ajax, Cocu three at PSV and Van Bron­ck­horst one ti­tle and two na­tional cups at Feyeno­ord.

The 41-year-old Van Bom­mel – who also played for Barcelona, Bay­ern Mu­nich and Mi­lan – coached PSV’s un­der-19s last year and was an as­sis­tant to Bert Van Mar­wijk, his fa­ther-in-law, with Saudi Ara­bia and Aus­tralia.

Van Mar­wijk will be on hand to of­fer ad­vice to the new PSV coach – and that might not be a bad idea. Two years ago, Van Bron­ck­horst over­saw Feyeno­ord’s worst-ever run un­til the ex­pe­ri­enced Dick Ad­vo­caat came in to help him get the team back on track.

One thing is for sure – there will be a change of style in Eind­hoven. Van Bom­mel likes to win at all cost and isn’t aim­ing to top any pop­u­lar­ity polls. He will opt for a more ag­gres­sive style by putting pres­sure on op­po­nents’ de­fences. And as a player that op­pos­ing fans loved to hate, he won’t get a warm re­cep­tion in the rest of the coun­try.

He will be helped by the fact that keeper Jeroen Zoet and striker Luuk De Jong have de­cided to stay at the club, as has Mex­ico’s Hirv­ing Lozano – for now.

Some 85km north in Arn­hem, Vitesse have taken a dif­fer­ent man­age­rial ap­proach by ap­point­ing Leonid Slut­sky.

Al­though the 47-year-old won three cham­pi­onships with CSKA Moscow and was a re­spected na­tional coach in Rus­sia, his trav­els to west­ern Europe have not been very suc­cess­ful. His short spell at Hull City could be de­scribed as a fail­ure, but that hasn’t scared off the Arn­hem club’s board.

Vitesse, of­ten seen as a satel­lite club of Ro­man Abramovich’s Chelsea, are un­der Rus­sian in­flu­ence and know who they are deal­ing with. And it was Rus­sian di­rec­tor Valery Oyf, whose in­ter­ven­tion was the main rea­son for pre­vi­ous coach Henk Fraser leav­ing, who cut the deal.

Re­ferred to as “Hol­ly­wood on the Rhine” be­cause the club is so of­ten in tur­moil, Slut­sky will need all his ex­pe­ri­ence to guide Vitesse to sil­ver­ware. Af­ter all, a club with a 126-year his­tory should have won more than just the 2017 Dutch Cup. But he won’t be able to call on Gu­ram Kashia, who has gone to San Jose Earth­quakes, while Matt Mi­azga and last year’s sen­sa­tion Ma­son Mount both re­turned to Chelsea.

Even with the ar­rival of ex­pe­ri­enced Por­tuguese goal­keeper Ed­uardo from Chelsea and Slo­vakian striker Ma­tus Bero from Trab­zon­spor it is hard to see Slut­sky com­pet­ing with Hol­land’s top three. And es­pe­cially now that Robin Van Per­sie has de­cided to post­pone his re­tire­ment for an­other year at Feyeno­ord, and Ajax have re-signed Da­ley Blind from Manch­ester United and bought Du­san Tadic from Southamp­ton.

With PSV prob­a­bly hav­ing the most bal­anced squad it could well be an­other year when the rookie beats the vet­eran in the Ere­di­visie.

“Two years ago we started this route with Mark Van Bom­mel. He is now ready for it” PSV gen­eral man­ager Toon Ger­brands

New ap­proach... Mark Van Bom­mel

Stay­ing... Luuk De Jong

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