Belfast Telegraph

Klinsmann in talks with FA, says Bierhoff

By Mark Ogden

Jurgen Klinsmann is "in discussions with England" and possesses the "courage" to resurrect the nation's football fortunes, according to former Germany team-mate Oliver Bierhoff.

Klinsmann, who guided the United States to the semi-finals of this summer's Copa America, has emerged as the favourite to succeed Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson quit after the humiliating Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland in the last 16.

Bierhoff, who worked closely with Klinsmann during his two-year reign as Germany coach between 2004 and 2006, said: "We started in 2004 together and he's not always nice to handle because he wants to change things.

"But he brings motivation, he has the courage to make difficult decisions and perhaps you need something like this.

"Since the arrival of Jurgen Klinsmann - I think he is in discussions with England - we gave the national team a certain pride, atmosphere and organisation."

Former Tottenham forward Klinsmann is under contract to the United States Soccer Federation until the end of the 2018 World Cup but he has his admirers with the Football Association.

The FA are currently sounding out a variety of leading figures within the game in an effort to identify the right man to replace Hodgson.

But Klinsmann's work in helping to transform German fortunes following successive failures at Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, when he implemented a bold overhaul of Germany's football structure before leading the team to the 2006 World Cup semi-finals, has earned praise.

"He (Klinsmann) would be a good fit," Bierhoff, currently employed as team manager alongside coach Joachim Low by the German Football Federation, said. "The success of the story is a big factor, but also the good organisation and good atmosphere we have in the group."

Since Klinsmann replaced Rudi Voller as Germany coach in 2004, before handing the reins over to Low in 2006, Germany have progressed to six successive major semi-finals - winning the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

But despite Germany's success over the last decade, Bierhoff insists that appointing the right manager is only one part of a bigger process in terms of ensuring an upturn in results.

"It's not like putting the hand on the shoulder and everything happens," Bierhoff said. "A lot of things come together.

"When we failed in 2000, we invested a lot in the infra-structure and the education of young players and coaches, so now we have a lot of talented players, we have a good infrastructure and the Bundesliga is investing in young players.

"Perhaps it is an advantage that good players go to England and other countries, so clubs have to bring other players through."

Despite the well-oiled system in Germany which has created the winning culture in the country, Low's team returned home on Thursday having suffered semi-final elimination at the hands of Euro 2016 hosts France.

But while Bierhoff admits there will be a review of the team's performance, he insists that reaching the last four will not be viewed as a failure.

"Pressure in the big football countries is always high," he said. "And we come from a successful story. Since 2006 we've been among the last four every time and losing against France isn't so bad, so I don't think there will be too many critics.

"We will analyse, but at the moment German football stands up to quite a good level. We have a lot of young, talented players."

Belfast Telegraph


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