Spurs legend Gary Mabbutt discusses Jurgen Klinsmann's appointment in Korea
Jurgen Klinsmann's arrival in Korea is a fantastic opportunity for both the manager and the national team, at least according to his former captain Tottenham Hotspur legend Gary Mabbutt.
Former Spurs defender Mabbutt played 16 years for the club — from 1982 to 1998 — and captained the team for 11 years, during which he won the UEFA Cup, now the UEFA Europa League, in 1984 and the FA Cup in 1991.
That time at Tottenham saw Mabbutt captain the team throughout both of Klinsmann's spells with the club — in 1994 and 1998.
“Jurgen was the best player in training I worked with in my entire career," Mabbut said during an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily last week. "His attitude in training, his attitude on the pitch. We were room partners so we used to share a lot about the game itself, about his time in Germany, my time in England, what we thought of the way things were being done.
“I was the captain at the time, so we had a lot of conversations about how things could be done and would be done. He always put a lot of thought into the game and people used to say that the two of us should one day become the joint managerial team at the club.”
Mabbut retired in 1998 after making 619 appearances for his team, giving him the second-highest number of appearances of any Tottenham player ever, and did not pursue a managerial career.
Klinsmann, on the other hand, went back into the game shortly after his retirement in 2003, taking the helm of the German national football team in 2004.
The German manager’s first managerial period proved to be successful as he took Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup.
Klinsmann's career has seen some highs and lows since. He later took charge of Bayern Munich from 2008 and 2009 and left the club with a record of 25 wins, nine draws and 10 losses.
Phillip Lahm, who played under Klinsmann in 2008, said in his controversial autobiography that there was little technical instruction and the team only practiced fitness under the manger.
The German manager continued his managerial career, however, and saw some success when he led the United States and took the team to the round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. He left a few years later as things started to go awry for the squad.
Despite that up-and-down career, Mabbutt expects nothing but success for Klinsmann in Korea.
“I think it’s a fantastic move to bring Jurgen in," Mabbutt said. "Korea has a very good, young, positive side of players and Jurgen will make sure that the development programs for the players coming through are there and in place. I’m very positive, I’m very optimistic. It will be a fantastic coming together of a manager and a national team.”
Since arriving in Korea, Klinsmann has said he plans to play aggressive football with the Taeguk Warriors, saying he would rather win a game 4-3 than 1-0.
“His focus is on development; his focus is on making the most of what there is available. It’s always very positive,” Mabbut said.
Klinsmann values communication with players and everyone involved, as he emphasized at the Korea Football Association (KFA) Coach Conference held in Goyang, Gyeonggi on Wednesday.
“I hope I can give a lot of good advice to obviously the players, most importantly for the A-national team,” Klinsmann said.
Klinsmann's words echoed what Mabbutt had said about him a few days earlier.
“He’s a very open manager" he said. "He’ll talk to the players, he’ll be in contact with the players. He’ll make sure that in training and in matches he’ll make sure that he gets what he wants."
The German manager’s first objective, as he said during his first interview in Korea, is to win the AFC Asian Cup in January next year in Qatar.
His debut game will be a friendly against Colombia on March 24, where he will field the squad inherited from his predecessor Paulo Bento with only two changes: The addition of Celtic's Oh Hyeon-gyu and Lee Ki-je of the Suwon Samsung Bluewings.
BY JIM BULLEY AND PAIK JI-HWAN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.
Standards Board Policy (0/250자)