Jurgen Klinsmann is maybe … perhaps … but also maybe not … in negotiations with the English Football Association over England’s vacant head coaching job.
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It’s all very cryptic and full of hearsay at the moment, as Klinsmann’s close friend and former colleague from his time as manager of the German national team, Oliver Bierhoff, has done his part to keep the Klinsmann-to-England rumor alive and well this Friday evening. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire? (Quotes from the Guardian):
“It’s not like putting a hand on the shoulder and everything happens,” said Bierhoff, a close friend of Klinsmann, when asked about the FA’s intention to appoint a strong figure to revive England’s fortunes after another miserable tournament. “A lot of things need to come together. When we failed at Euro 2000 we invested a lot in the infrastructure and the education of young players and coaches, so now we have a lot of talented players and the Bundesliga is investing in young players.
“Perhaps it is an advantage that good players go to England and other countries, so our clubs have to bring other players through. But since the arrival of Jurgen Klinsmann — who I think is in discussions with England — we have also given the national team a certain pride, atmosphere and organization. The success of the story is the high quality but also the good organization and good atmosphere we have in the group.”
One of two things is going on here: 1) Klinsmann has serious interest in the England job, which of course he does — whether or not he would jump ship from the USMNT for it is another story; or, 2) with just two years left on his current U.S. Soccer contract, Klinsmann loves coaching the USMNT very much, and the American lifestyle it affords him, and he’s angling for another four-year extension, this time two full years ahead of the World Cup.
You’d like to believe he’s not brash enough for the latter, and/or that Sunil Gulati would never grant such a request, but December 2013 definitely happened.
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Here’s the thing about Klinsmann’s viability as the next England boss: if there were gripes of Roy Hodgson’s shortcomings while manning the post, hiring Klinsmann would only be a continuation of Hodgson’s complete lack of tactical nous, as well as the lack of consistency of lineups selected that dogged the Three Lions for the entirety of Hodgson’s tenure.
Of course Klinsmann deserves his share of credit for ushering in the next generation of German talent last decade, as Bierhoff points out, but the situation England presently finds itself in is far from similar: Hodgson took one of, if not the, youngest teams to EURO 2016 without a single clue of how to set them up. If anyone is of the belief the American media has been harsh on Klinsmann, just wait until you read the English press on a daily basis.
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As for the USMNT, now seems the last acceptable time for Klinsmann to jump town. With the 2018 World Cup just 23 months away, and qualification into and through the hex still to secure, that’s just enough time for a new coach to come in, take stock of the player pool, identify “his guys,” and attempt to implement a tactical system and style of play.