Friday, 8 April 2016

Pochettino worth every penny of club-record offer

MAURICIO POCHETTINO is said to have been offered a club-record contract at Tottenham - and the promising coach would be worth every penny.

Young stars like Harry Kane and Dele Alli may be attracting comparisons to some of England's all-time greats. 

But the Argentine boss, 44, is the man at the top of Tottenham's keep-at-all-costs list and the Daily Mail claims he is in line for a £27.5million contract across five years.

The value of this type of manager cannot be underestimated and history suggests that, when a club stumbles upon a forward-thinker of his type, you must do everything within your power to let his story unfold.

But how could he be more important than Alli or Harry Kane?

Alli, likened to Steven Gerrard and Paul Gascoigne in this morning's press, said it himself last week, when talking about his decision to join Spurs instead of Liverpool from MK Dons

He said: "The main thing for me was to find a manager who had a similar philosophy to Karl Robinson, who was my coach at MK Dons. He also put a lot of trust in young players.

"Karl was never afraid to put players in at the deep end and I see a lot of players at Spurs who have enjoyed the same opportunities.

"Tottenham like to press, get the ball down and pass. And that suits me. I couldn't think of a better place to be."

For the country's top young talent to be looking at our manager and thinking, "I want to play for him because he will improve me," is absolute gold dust. Money cannot buy that sort of reputation.

While Alli may be the man to build a team around - Pochettino is the sort of boss who can leave a legacy.

The Argentine could unearth or nurture another two, three or five Allis or Kanes. But more importantly he has the opportunity to instil a brand of football and a philosophy that can last for generations.

The grandest example of this is the late Johan Cruyff, although Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Toucher's work at Borussia Dortmund is worth keeping an eye on.

Cruyff was a pupil of Rinus Michel's "Total Football" system that won Ajax six titles in eight years as well as three straight European Cups in the 1970s - and swept the Dutch national team to consecutive World Cup finals (1974 and 1978). 

He was so determined to pass down his theories that, on leaving Barcelona as a player in 1978, he set up the club’s La Masia training facility, inspired by the Ajax academy - now 116 years old - from which he graduated. 

The Ajax academy still churns out stars today. And some of those Spurs fans will know well - like Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen.

La Masia opened in 1979 with the sole intention of developing youngsters into skilful, passing players boasting a keen spacial awareness. 

It turned out the centre of excellence was not just a good deed - Cruyff returned to Barca as a coach in 1988 and benefitted from the school’s early graduates to craft the Barca “Dream Team" of the early 1990s.

And the midfield anchor of that side - which brought Barcelona a first ever European Cup in 1992 and four consecutive La Liga titles - was one Josep Guardiola. 

Pep went on to be Barca’s most successful ever coach, continuing the philosophy tattooed on the club’s psyche by Cruyff. He dominated La Liga and Europe with a side full of La Masia’s homegrown talent - Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro.

That crop of players turn helped drive the Spanish national team to a period of unprecedented success by winning the 2010 World Cup in between two straight European titles.

Spurs boss Pochettino has already had a profound effect on the English national team, with five White Hart Lane stars in Roy Hodgson’s last squad - at an average age of 22.

I’m not saying our man is the next Cruyff or Guardiola - but he is already dipping into Tottenham’s academy ranks and moulding our young stars to his own system. If he can get his ideology established as we move into a new stadium, then he could set us on a much-needed path to a solid footballing identity.

Guardiola also credits lesser-known Marco Bielsa as a major big tactical influence - the former Argentina coach’s revolutionary 3-3-3-1 formation required athletes fit enough to defend and attack. 

The idea was to flood every part of the pitch with players who knew where to be at any given moment. 

They could attack with seven men, defend with seven men and still overwhelm the midfield in the dying minutes.His superfit ranks had to press high and recover the ball when not in possession. 

Sound familiar? Well, Bielsa mentored Pochettino while coaching Newell’s Old Boys to the Argentine title in 1992. So, like Pep, and Cruyff before him, Spurs’ coach is armed with teachings right out of football’s top drawer.

Only the best managers and coaches understand the profound affect they can have on a player, club or nation’s future by developing a thorough philosophy, rather than a just tactic. One man’s methods can turn out to drive a club for decades. 

Pochettino has many of the components to become one of the greats. And he is at our club. 

That needs to be protected above all else.

No comments:

Post a Comment