How Tottenham players and staff behind the scenes have reacted to Ange Postecoglou’s new methods
Ange Postecoglou has made a strong and very clear impression on players and staff alike at Tottenham Hotspur in his opening days of pre-season, football.london understands.
The Australian officially began work and his first pre-season campaign at the club on Saturday with a group of non-international Spurs players, supplemented by youngsters from the club’s development squad. After early fitness checks with the sports science staff, the group were quickly taken out on to the Hotspur Way training pitches to begin drilling the Postecoglou way into them and the relentless attacking and pressing football he demands.football.london understands that the 57-year-old has made a quick and positive impression on those within the training ground and especially among his players.
As is his reputation, Postecoglou has proved to be a very strong communicator and players young and old are already understood to be impressed with his way of speaking, which leaves you in no doubt of what he expects from you on and off the pitch. The Australian has previously admitted that he likes to tell stories in order to communicate with his squads and that style has already left its mark at Tottenham.How Postecoglou has told the Spurs players he wants them to play next season has already excited the squad members who have returned so far to Hotspur Way.
Training sessions have been described so far as “upbeat” and “bright” with a very clear structure to them, involving drills and already at least one full-sided match with academy players making up the numbers.
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Postecoglou has already firmly briefed his coaching staff – senior assistant coach Chris Davies, assistant coaches Ryan Mason, Matt Wells and Mile Jedinak and goalkeeping coach Rob Burch – in exactly what he wants them to get across and then he lets them get to work in relaying it with an autonomy in the methods they choose.The head coach prowls around the fringes of the training sessions, watching and analysing everything going on, from the way the players are reacting and learning to the way his coaches are getting across his very particular methods. The squad is at times broken up into groups with the coaches given individual responsibility for the more intensive development work with certain players.
The new coaching team put together by Postecoglou has been described to football.london as ‘brilliant’ by a few involved in the sessions, all young and hungry coaches with a very similar view of how the game should be played to the Australian.
“I’m really pleased with the group I’ve got together,” the head coach said this week. “It’s well chronicled that I don’t have a travelling band (of coaches), I like to work with new people, that excites me and challenges me as a person. I’ve a really good mix, bright, young guys… it’s been mentioned to me that, apparently, I’m getting a bit old, so I’m surrounding myself with younger guys! But, more importantly, really bright, talented and ambitious guys.”
Postecoglou watches his coaching staff running the sessions from a distance, only interjecting occasionally when necessary and he mostly speaks to the players as a group.
The Australian has previously explained that he uses 60 to 70-minute near non-stop training sessions most days during the season to replicate the amount of time a ball is in play during matches and also how relentless he wants his team to be. Pre-season sessions are even tougher in order to build up the base level of fitness and techniques required.
It’s not just those on the training pitches who have been impressed by the new man, as he has quickly made himself known to the various departments within the club, ensuring he brings them all together and pulling in the same direction.
Postecoglou has been labelled by various staff as a “very strong communicator” and by another as “polite, friendly and straight to the point without being rude”.
The former Celtic boss has already come across within the Enfield-based training complex as having no interest in being a micro-manager, rather a leader who understands people’s roles and responsibilities and lets them do their jobs.
For now much of his work will be done on the training ground with his available players, which include club captain Hugo Lloris, Yves Bissouma, Eric Dier, Pedro Porro, Emerson Royal, Tanguy Ndombele, Djed Spence, Bryan Gil, Ryan Sessegnon, Sergio Reguilon, Fraser Forster, Japhet Tanganga, Alfie Devine, Dane Scarlett, Troy Parrott, Harvey White, Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman. The injured Rodrigo Bentancur has also been back at the training complex as part of his rehabilitation.The club’s U21s returned last Thursday and Postecoglou has made a point of including a number of them in his early sessions and opening a clear dialogue with the academy to ensure the brightest talents are given a pathway to his first team over the coming months and seasons.
Following their contracted 21 days’ rest, Postecoglou’s international players, including the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Cristian Romero and new signing James Maddison will return in the week ahead of the club’s departure on July 14 for the flight to Perth and their tour of Australia, Thailand and Singapore.
Destiny Udogie, who was on loan at Udinese last season, only finished his international duty recently as Italy went out of the group stages of the European U21 Championships but the left-back is currently expected to decide to cut short his holidays in order to get to work under Postecoglou before the tour party departs.
Oliver Skipp is through to the semi-finals with England but may well choose to shorten his holiday period as well by a few days in order to make a quicker impression on the new boss.
football.london understands there is a possibility that Son could fly directly to Australia from South Korea with a final decision yet to be made over that and whether to spare the attacker, who turns 31 on Saturday, the prospect of two long-haul flights around the world in the space of a couple of days.
Spurs will be hoping that the positive first impression made by Postecoglou around the club continues as the bulk of team’s stars return and then during what is expected to be a very raucous welcome home for the new Tottenham boss in Australia.
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