With the announcement of Ange Postecoglou as successor to Holger Osieck as Head Coach of the Socceroos, it must be said that he has long been deserving of the position.
This is no disrespect to the other two candidates who were shortlisted for the position in Graham Arnold (Central Coast Mariners) and Tony Popovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), who are both in the own right great tacticians and man managers.
Yet, Postecoglou’s resume reads much deeper at present when put side-by-side Arnold’s and Popovic’s respectively.
Postecoglou has won two NSL championships with South Melbourne back in the late 1990’s, he then went onto manage the Australian Under 20’s side for over seven years before winning back-to-back A-League championships with the Brisbane Roar.
That knowledge of being in the national set-up before, in conjunction with his success as manager in both the NSL and A-League is the concoction that is needed at present.
To add to this, Postecoglou’s experience of nurturing youth both at international and club level surely would have swayed the votes in his favour.
Someone with great local knowledge and having success of bringing through the next generation of players is exactly what is required as the Socceroos rebuild for the years to come.
Postecoglou has the knack of making his sides believe that anything is possible even when they look down and out. His Brisbane Roar sides were renowned for countless comebacks during his time in charge, most notably the Roar’s first grand final success against the Central Coast.
His Melbourne Victory side made a classic Postecoglou comeback last weekend against Adelaide United when they were down 2-0 early to draw level at 2-2, to certify that reputation that his sides have.
With the mental fragility that the Socceroos currently possess, someone with this kind of reputation and credibility is required to take charge of our national team.
Back to the other candidates and there are reasons why they weren’t able to pip Postecoglou to the Socceroos post.
Arnold has no doubt had success during his time at the Central Coast Mariners. He has won a number of Premiers’ Plates. Yet on those occasions he failed to conquer the final hurdle and claim the coveted A-League championship.
Last year he redeemed himself and claimed that piece of silverware to add that extra notch to his CV, but Postecoglou has the pedigree to do it in a shorter time frame.
Arnold has also been charge of the senior national team before and had a troubled time in charge during that tenure.
To his defence, he was thrown in the deep end at the time after Guus Hiddink had vacated the position whilst Arnold was under his tutelage as manager. Arnold didn’t quite have the experience under his belt at that point in time which would have played against him somewhat when up against other international opposition.
Arnold is a far better tactician and manager now that he has had a number of years of experience in the management game. He, like Postecoglou, has the ability to discover and nurture young talent having shown it with the likes of Mitchell Duke, Bernie Ibini, Mat Ryan and Tom Rogic, just name a few.
Turning to the other candidate in Wanderers manager Tony Popovic, and Postecoglou has a number of factors playing in his favour.
Tony Popovic had a remarkable first season in charge of Western Sydney, taking them to the Premiers’ Plate and furthermore to the Grand Final where they unfortunately fell short, ironically to Graham Arnold’s men.
I have no doubt that in the future Tony Popovic will be the manager of the Socceroos, if not the successor of Ange Postecoglou when he is no longer in charge.
When he has players in the calibre of Japanese international Shinji Ono and Socceroo Tim Cahill endorsing his methods of management, you can understand why such statements above are being associated with the former Crystal Palace assistant.
He has immense backing from his playing group which certainly plays in his favour.
Yet he is still very inexperienced as a manager and must prove his success in the Wanderers role over a number of years before he is seriously considered for national duties.
On a further note, you would think that the FFA appointed Popovic to the Wanderers job for four years to create stability in the club as well as to give Popovic the experience he needs.
You would think with the FFA still in control of the Western Sydney club that they wouldn’t bleed it by taking out Popovic from that post, especially with the success and momentum that has been developed whilst he has been at the helm.
With more years in charge at the top level of club football in Australia and possibly abroad, he will be a far better candidate in years to come.
With Postecoglou taking over the mantle of Socceroos manager, it is encouraging to think that the FFA have the faith to look at local managers and for the first time since Frank Farina was at the summit.
Ange Postecoglou is the right man going forward and taking the Socceroos into their next phase and Australian football fans should be delighted with his appointment.