Football Association aims high for new national coach of Red Devils: Löw, Pochettino and Villas-Boas also on shortlist

The football association aims high for the succession of Roberto Martinez as national coach. Names of coaches shortlisted to become national coach have been leaked en they are not the least: ex-German national coach Joachim Löw, former Tottenham and PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino and the Portuguese André Villas-Boas. Whether those big names are feasible remains to be seen. Frank Vercauteren, on the other hand, remains emphatically in the picture as technical director.

Koen Van Uytvange and Ludo Vandewalle

Today Thursday and tomorrow Friday, the Task Force of the football association will meet to discuss the vacancies of technical director and national coach that need to be filled. Some names of the shortlist for national coach have already been leaked. Not all, because there are several more on it. But the names that reached our editors are quite impressive.

Joachim Löw became world champion — © BELGAIMAGE

First Joachim Löw. The almost 63-year-old German was national coach of Germany for no less than fifteen years, with which he won the world title in Brazil in 2014. In that year he was named Trainer of the Year by the world football association FIFA. Before joining the German Football Association, he also won prizes as coach of VfB Stuttgart (cup), Tirol Innsbruck (title) and Austria Wien (Supercup). After first being assistant national coach for two years alongside Jürgen Klinsmann, Löw changed the face of German football from tough and tough to offensive and attractive. After the failed European Championship in 2021, the cooperation with the German federation was terminated.

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Mauricio Pochettino is no stranger to Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Both defenders worked at Tottenham for no less than five seasons under the 51-year-old Argentinian. They couldn’t win a prize together. They played the final of the Champions League in 2019, but it was lost against Liverpool. Pochettino only took his first trophy as a trainer after he became a trainer of the French PSG in 2020. In the year and a half that he coached in Paris, he won a title and a cup. At the end of last season he was sacked for losing control of Neymar Jr, Kylian Mbappé and his compatriot Lionel Messi.

Also André Villas-Boas is no stranger to some Belgian (former) football players. Again Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham, but also Romelu Lukaku (at Chelsea in his first period), Axel Witsel and Nicolas Lombaerts (both at Zenit Saint Petersburg) worked with the still only 45-year-old Portuguese. Their opinions on this are not entirely positive. Villas-Boas worked as a coach in his early years – he was only in his twenties – alongside Jose Mourinho and after a successful year as FC Porto head coach he was brought to Chelsea as the ‘new Mourinho’. However, he was never able to fulfill that promise, despite titles and cups in Portugal and Russia. Villas-Boas has now been out of work for almost two years after resigning in February 2021 because the club had signed a player without his knowledge. He has a lot of international experience, having worked in Italy, Portugal, England, Russia, China and France.

Some reservation: the question is whether these coaches are financially and sportingly feasible. It could also be another as-yet-unknown shortlisted name. Andrea Pirlo, Hervé Renard, Thierry Henry and Claude Puel are no longer there for the time being.

Frank Vercauteren

The new technical director, also succeeding Roberto Martinez, will probably be appointed before the national coach. The name that circulates the most there is that of Frank Vercauteren, 66 years old and now mostly residing in Russia with his Russian girlfriend and child. Despite the fact that he also has a proposal from a club to become a trainer, he is willing to return to our country. Current assistant national coach Thomas Vermaelen said on VTM that he is open to the position. Michel Preud’homme is also still on the table, but does he want to? Timmy Simons and Johan Walem put themselves forward as candidates, but so far without result.

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