With Sam Allardyce stepping down as manager of the England National team, the FA has to begin the process of searching for a new coach for the second time in the span of a few months. There are plenty of good coaches that would fill the role, but if the FA are serious about turning England back into a real contender they might want to look at their long-time international rival, Germany.
Ralf Rangnick’s name was recently brought up as a possible replacement for Allardyce, and there isn’t a coach better suited to building England up again than the 58-year-old German.
FA sources tell us they're keen to speak to former Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick with view to succeeding Sam Allardyce as @England boss
— Jim White (@JimWhite) September 29, 2016
Rangnick has dismissed the assertion that he has been in any contact with the FA. That said, if the FA should come calling, he should listen. England needs someone that will bring their game into the 21st century. They also need someone who is able to bring around young talent. England has plenty of young talent but have for years never done anything with it. Rangnick is someone who can change that.
Starting in the early 1980s, Rangnic began coaching at Ulm 1846, a team he played 32 matches for when he was a player. He was in charge of Ulm’s youth academy. His time there was short-lived as he went on to become a player/manager at Viktoria Backnang. Rangnick would go on to several small clubs in Germany before finally making his breakthrough in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart in 1999.
After one successful season at Stuttgart, Rangnick was fired the following year as the southern German team struggled. Rangnick spent much of the next few years bouncing around clubs in Germany. A stint in Hannover saw them promoted to the Bundesliga, and two sperate spells as manager of Schalke 04 which included a run to the Champions League Semi-final in 2011.
[link_box id=”23201″ site_id=”158″ layout=”link-box-third” alignment=”alignright”]It isn’t a sterling resume by any stretch, but then again Roy Hodgson didn’t have much of a resume either. What should separate Rangnick from other candidates is what he did with Hoffenheim and what he’s currently doing with RB Leipzig.
Back in the late 90s, shortly before he went on to manage Stuttgart, Rangnick appeared on a German television program to discuss the way he thought teams would be playing in the future. The German coach described a style of play that was an uptempo, high pressing game. It’s been adopted by many around the world, including Jürgen Klopp and his famous Gegenpressing style. Many of his contemporaries at the time dismissed Rangnick and opted more for the old pragmatic way the game was played. You can watch the video here if you wish, it’s in German but visual aids help.
Rangnick took his high press to Hoffenheim in 2006. With the help of billionaire Dietmar Hopp, he took a fourth division side up to the Bundesliga in a matter of years. A dispute with management over the sale of Luis Gustavo to Bayern Munich lead to Rangnick’s eventual departure.
Now at RB Leipzig, Rangnick has taken another lower division team all the way to the Bundesliga. Relying on his trademark style as well as a team full of young stars in the making, Rangnick has taken Germany by storm once again. He managed Leipzig last season but has spent the majority of his time as the club’s sporting director. But with a team full of energetic young players, and the financial backing of Red Bull, Rangnick has helped build a potential contender in the coming years.
This brings us back to England. With players like Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Eric Dier, there is already a wealth of young talent within England that would fit Rangnick’s philosophy. Now that certain teams like Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool are already playing with a high pressing system Rangnick will have players familiar with his ideas.
Rangnick was a candidate for the Germany assistant job in 2004, which would go to Joachim Jöw. But Rangnick’s style would have a tangible effect on the German National team. His implementation of the Footbonaut training device at Hoffenheim gave his players an advantage in winning the ball, controlling it and moving it quickly. Borussia Dortmund trained with the device as well, and a Dortmund academy player by the name of Mario Götze won the World Cup using the same skills he practiced with the futuristic training tool.
Rangnick wasn’t on the bench when Germany won the World Cup, but his ideas were on the field in some respects. Now the FA has a choice to make. They could play it safe and hire a traditional manager in the same vain as Allardyce or Hodgson. However, given the squad at their disposal, it would greatly benefit them to look at Rangnick. The English game is changing, but their national team looks like it’s having trouble keeping up. It might just require a little German engineering to get them caught up.