Is Jurgen Klinsmann really a candidate to be England manager and should they hire him?
England are looking for a new manager. Roy Hodgson resigned after the Three Lions’ loss to Iceland knocked them out of the Euros and ever since, seemingly every English manager has been tapped as a potential replacement. And so has a certain German.
In the hours following the England loss, Jurgen Klinsmann’s name was put forth by a few prominent writers, suggesting that the United States manager would be a good choice for the Three Lions. Then on Wednesday, Sky Sports reported that Klinsmann is "intrigued by the England job."
So what does all of this mean?
Would Klinsmann leave the U.S. for England?
Most likely, no. Klinsmann has a fat salary, a ton of power and gets to spend a lot of time at his Manhattan Beach home right now. He’s also in the middle of a project with the U.S. It’s hard to imagine him leaving the gig now, considering everything he’s put into it and the security he has.
Why is he being linked to England then?
There aren’t many links of Klinsmann to England. It’s one report, some people on Twitter saying they’d like him and then a bunch of gamblers placing bets on it.
Should England pursue Klinsmann?
Let’s assume for a second that Klinsmann would take the job, is he someone who would do a good job with England? Probably not. England just had a manager with questionable tactics and bringing in another seems unwise. Klinsmann hasn’t really shown the ability to instill a system — any system – or much tactical creativity, which is what the Three Lions need right now. The talent is there, but they don’t have the most natural fits or a clear way forward. Creativity and finding a system is key.
Why do some prominent Englishmen want him?
The Klinsmann Era with the U.S. has been rocky and support for him in the States is mixed, at best. He promised that the Americans would take big leaps forward and a host of other things that he has yet to deliver on. But if you ask the English about Klinsmann’s time in charge of the U.S., you won’t hear such things.
From the outside, Klinsmann went to a World Cup round of 16 and a Copa America semifinal. That’s not bad and a 57 percent win rate stands out. When you combine those tournament results – those tournaments are the only time most everyone outside the U.S. pays attention to the Yanks – and the belief that the Americans’ talent isn’t very good, it seems like he’s doing a good job.
That’s a good reminder that for all the questions about Klinsmann, and there are many fair ones, he has made a habit of meeting minimum expectations in major tournaments. So promises have gone unfulfilled, the tactics often make no sense, there’s no semblance of a system, he’s racked up several historically bad losses and communication is a problem. Those are all underlying problems. He’ll get you good enough results in tournaments.
So England wouldn’t be crazy to hire him?
No. One thing that Klinsmann is very good at is challenging people and systems. England could use that, although they aren’t as stuck in the past as some would like you to believe. Whether it’s putting more emphasis on bringing young players through – Hodgson actually did a good job of that over the last 18 months – or trying to get rid of a mentality that the worst will always happen, Klinsmann could be useful. It’s not as if this is would be a hire with no merit.
Who should England hire instead?
That’s the thing: there isn’t an obvious hire for the Three Lions. Alan Pardew, Gareth Southate, Gary Neville, Brendan Rodgers, Sam Allardyce, Garry Monk and Tim Sherwood have all been floated as possibilities. None of them are especially good.
Hodgson wasn’t especially good himself, somehow parlaying a meandering career with generally small clubs and underwhelming performances at a couple bigger sides into the England job. His CV looks nothing like one of a top manager and yet England hired him anyway.
Klinsmann has a lot of flaws, but so does everyone else England are likely to consider.
Klinsmann would probably be a fine manager for England, much in the same way that Hodgson was fine. So the Three Lions lost to Iceland — they’ve never won a Euro knockout stage match outright before. This isn’t a team that usually does spectacularly. Klinsmann has shown that he can get his team to passable results most of the time (the 2015 Gold Cup being the lone exception) even if they don’t play very well and have some inexcusable losses along the way. Klinsmann would proably make it out of the group at the World Cup and, realistically, that’s passable for England.
Why people in England would be clamoring for him doesn’t make sense, until you remember that many probably know little more than what his Wikipedia says about performances in major tournaments. At surface level, Klinsmann makes sense and considering the competition for the job, that might be enough to make him a fine enough hire.
Of course, there’s the whole matter of him likely not being interested in the job and most of the chatter being people on Twitter saying "I’d like him to manage England" and then a bunch of people overseas putting bets on it. Basically, all this talk is kind of irrelevant.
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