Great expectations await national coach

BACK ON THE WINNERS’ LIST: The Socceroos’ Mile Jedinak gives a Canadian defender the slip on Wednesday.
BACK ON THE WINNERS’ LIST: The Socceroos’ Mile Jedinak gives a Canadian defender the slip on Wednesday. CHARLIE CROWHURSTGETTY IMAGES

JUST because the coach of your national team is from that country does not necessarily guarantee success.

Although it is a good thing Football Federation Australia is staying local with the next Socceroos coach, the team's fans, officials and players should not expect the man in the top role to start turning things around immediately.

You only have to look at cricket and rugby in Australia at the highest level to realise that because you have a new man at the helm, it does not mean he will automatically get the team winning again.

Darren Lehmann has seen some improvement in the Australian Test team, but it still lost the Ashes in England 3-0.

The Wallabies, too, are in the middle of a lean spell under new coach Ewen McKenzie - again illustrating that just because you pick someone close to home does not always mean he can turn the team into world beaters overnight.

Tony Popovic, Graham Arnold and Ange Postecoglou all appear to be excellent candidates, but have not really been tested at the highest level.

They have all achieved success in the A-League, but as other managers and coaches around the world will know, that doesn't mean you can expect the same in the international game.

Coaching in the A-League and coaching a team at the World Cup are as far apart as the north and south poles.

While I don't doubt any of the three candidates' abilities in the club game, I am not sure how they will cope under scrutiny at the highest level.

Over the past few years the Australian football public, and for that matter the pundits, have been spoilt - and they expect that high level to be continued by the Socceroos. When they don't get it, they will vent their anger and disappointment, call it what you will, at either the players or the coach.

In my experience, the players normally escape a lot of criticism, especially from the public.

The main man (the coach) is usually the one who gets it straight between the eyes and carries the can for bad performances.

Just how Popovic, Arnold or Postecoglou copes with the fishbowl world of international football will be fascinating to watch for fans of the game.

Hopefully, for Australia's sake, whoever is handed the bridge, so to speak, can steer the good ship Socceroos into calm seas ahead of Brazil next year.

But I think there will be some choppy waters to negotiate on the journey to Rio.

Topics:  football federation australia opinion phil dillon socceroos

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