When I was a professional player, my mantra was "Practice makes perfect." As a coach, I still think so, but I am not trying to find the next Dennis Bergkamp. In my opinion, coaching players similar to me lacks challenges, and I hope to help this generation of young players make progress.
I mean, when I was young, I was able to solve problems on my own-without a coach to teach me how to do it. I always respect the coach, and I am willing to play according to the coach's philosophy under the coach's tactical system. No coach needs to ask me to change the way I play or train.
Of course, the philosophy of coaches like John Cruyff and Wenger is exactly the same as mine, which is helpful to my career. But when I work with young players, I am more willing to accept challenges, especially those who like to help players who are dissatisfied with me for some reason in technology or tactics and do not know what to do. I always feel that I can help them.
Since leaving Ajax in 2017, I have never had a full-time job, and I am not actively looking for a job in the football field at this stage. However, as time goes on, I look forward to returning to the training ground more and more. But in any case, I don't want to be a head coach because I don't have that ambition. I want to spend time with my family and enjoy life off the football field. If I want to play golf occasionally, I am unlikely to be a dedicated head coach, right?
Seriously, I know that certain clubs will cooperate with forward coaches and invite them to coach forwards in the team to train two or three times a week, and leave after the training. But I think I can do more: I am willing to communicate with the players in depth, whether the topic of the chat is related to tactics or personal issues.
In a sense, this role is very similar to my on-field position in a player's career-between a forward and a midfielder.
Sometimes, the youth team and the first team are like two completely different worlds. I want to build a bridge between the two, of course, I also realize that I have produced results. I don't work for work, I clock in and commute every day... I sincerely hope to accept the challenge, take responsibility for training young players, and lead them to grow.
I like that kind of pressure. I did a good job at Ajax and I believe I can also achieve results in other European clubs. In fact, I am surprised that many clubs have not hired such coaches.
If a club can train its own players, it can often build a huge advantage, because unlike most players that spend money to buy, players who debut from their own youth academy do not need to spend time adapting to the new environment. In the future, UEFA and other football management agencies may introduce new policies that require each club to have 5 youth training players...Of course I believe that if you have a lot of money, your first choice will always be to spend a lot of money in signings. , Rather than investing in youth training. This is really regrettable.
This is also one of the main differences between players and coaches. As a coach, my philosophy comes from my entire career and life, but when I was a player, I always hoped that Arsenal could sign superstars. only
Arsenal need to be patient, because it takes time to build a team. Arsenal ranked 8th in the Premier League last season, I am afraid it will be difficult to attract players of the level of Henry or Pires. In this case, you have to try a few different approaches. On the one hand, it depends more on the coach’s philosophy and playing style; on the other hand, it is to train young players.
How should the coach evaluate young players? Most people will say "Oh, his skills are awesome" when they see a young player, or "He really works hard". But you can also teach players many other things. Many years ago, when I played for Ajax, Cruyff asked me very much-I think contemporary coaches should guide young players in the same way.
Ajax will evaluate young players from four aspects: tactics, technique, physical and psychological. If you want to become a professional player, then you need to have a higher level in these four aspects...In training sessions, the coach can improve the players' four abilities in a targeted manner. For example, if a player likes to complain about referees, then you can ask everyone to foul him while asking the referee not to give him a free kick.
I have received this kind of "devil training": When I was a teenager, Cruyff wanted my mentality to become stronger, so I was relegated to a low-level Ajax team. In order to arouse my reaction; he sometimes let me play in positions I am not familiar with... Through these practices, Cruyff tested my psychological quality and adaptability.
Compared with that era, football youth training for all age groups has become more structured. The children have received more education, but I have a faint feeling that their creativity seems to be stifled.
Many good players are full of creativity. In a few bright moments of my career, people may notice my footsteps, body balance and skills-these things can be learned the day after tomorrow and are the tools you need when playing football. But at the same time, I also need to be creative and know when to use them.
When I was a child, I used to play hundreds of times against a wall in a row to exercise my ball sense and technique in this way. We sometimes organize games at night, on the streets or on the gravel-filled court... Even if we have entered the Ajax Youth Academy, we still like to play the game after a pass and shoot training.
Times have changed. For this generation of young players, there are too many things in life competing for their attention, such as mobile phones, electronic games, etc. In addition, in the 14 years since I hung up my boots, the pace of football matches has become faster and faster, and media coverage of players has become more pervasive.
In the past few years, more and more clubs have begun to pay attention to statistics. I didn’t pay much attention to them when I was playing football. I remember talking to Wenger about statistics when I was in my 30s. He told me at the time: “I can (through the data) find out that after 60 or 70 minutes of each game , Your level will drop. That's why I replaced you."
I said: "Yes, but your statistics do not show that even if I only play 80%, I can complete an important pass before scoring." I like to call them "passes before assists." "Because it can tear the opponent's defense line and help teammates score goals, even if they are not the last pass.
If you only use statistics to evaluate players, it will be unfair to some players, such as Firmino, David Silva, etc.
I have always enjoyed watching De Bruyne play football. I remember when I saw him for the first time, I was still working at Ajax and we played a pre-season friendly with Wolfsburg. De Bruyne came off the bench in the second half. He was very confident when dribbling, and his vision almost covered the entire stadium...
De Bruyne has both excellent technology and can lead the team forward, everything he does on the court seems to be handy. As a comparison, I found that certain Premier League players have to stare at the ball every time they touch the ball.
Top players always know the location of the ball, do not need to stare at the ball, but always pay attention to space. Why can they do it? I think there is no secret, but "practice makes perfect".
I always believe that I can make progress. As a coach, I never stop learning. I am always absorbing new ideas and researching new practices that can bring changes to myself or others.