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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"We have top players and, sorry if I'm arrogant, we have a top manager."

With rumors that Feyenoord's Mark Wotte is on his way to Southampton, foreign coaches are making more inroads in the Championship as well as the Premier League. Perrin's brief stint should prevent any more clubs from seeing a foreign coach as a panacea, but the success of Mourinho, Wenger and especially Jol must give teams pause.

Widening the labor market can only help quality, as long as it's correctly assessed. There's a belief going around that foreign coaches have some sort of tactical genius, or at least the capacity to institute a training regimen that turns teams into lean, mean machines. There's no reason why English coaches couldn't do this... except that they've been notoriously slow at learning lessons from outside the Premiership.

Club management and training hasn't moved on much in the Premiership in the past 10 years, whereas in Italy, for example, it has been revolutionized. If anything, Premiership clubs should be more interested in how to maximize the efficiency of their players, because the league is so grinding.

But owners obsessed with transfer fees and high wages may be reluctant to shell out for better training room and physio technology. It may take a savvy, blue-collar team like Wigan - where the players' egos aren't yet big enough to reject such changes - to show the big boys how it could, and should, be done.


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