Thursday, 19 January 2012

Coleman tasked with carrying on Speed’s legacy

Wales confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in Welsh football when they announced this afternoon, that former player and Fulham manager Chris Coleman is to take over from the late Gary Speed.

In what was a tough day for everyone involved with Welsh football, with emotions still raw from the tragic loss of Speed in November, it was simply a call from his nation, that 32 times capped Coleman could not turn down.

Chris Coleman 
In the wake of Speed’s death a lot has been made of who should continue with the fantastic start the former captain turned manager had made. Raymond Verheijen had gone on record stating that he and fellow assistant manager Osian Roberts should take over the mantle and lead Wales.

It is not clear if the two will have apart to play in the future of the national side, but the Welsh FA moved swiftly to appoint Coleman following his resignation from Greek club Larissa, who have today started legal action and will seek compensation following his appointment.

He had left the club due to financial problems that have hit Greek football badly in recent times. He had gone out there to resurrect his managerial career after not being able to pick up a role since his departure from Coventry in 2010.

Coleman had made it clear on Sunday that he was in the running for the job, when he covered Swansea’s victory against Arsenal for Sky Sports.  He was indeed given an early chance to cast an eye over a number of rising stars he will have at his disposal.

His first task will be to take charge of the squad for the memorial match being played for Gary Speed at the end of next month in Cardiff against Costa Rica. It will be an emotionally charged night in Cardiff but he only start being judged when the qualifiers kick off in September.

The FAW have given the former centre half, contract until 2014, and for me Wales have picked the right man, a young, smart and tactically aware manager. He started his managerial career very young having been forced to retire at only 32 due to injuries he sustained in a road accident.

His first job was to at Fulham, and his record at Craven Cottage was impressive and under him they achieved their highest Premier League finish to date.

If he is to be a success in the top job in Welsh football, finding the right balance is going to be if the improvement is going to continue. Although it is a predominately young side the vast majority of the team are now plying their trade in the top flight which is the first time in a long time.

He simply has to keep Craig Bellamy onside and a key element will be devising a plan to use him to maximum affect, a suitable suggestion would be to only play him in the competitive games from now on. The likes of James Collins and Danny Gabbidon are going to essential in providing the experience to this promising and exciting squad that he has at his disposal.

Aaron Ramsey 
Captain Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale will be the key men if Wales are to succeed under Coleman and Steve Morison can be relied on upfront to deliver.  

Despite the tragic circumstances that have seen him become manager, Coleman has to carry on with the legacy. He is the man to get players on side, he is only 41 and the team that he will have around him, will be crucial because you will only have a few days to get your team prepared.

These are very exciting times for Welsh football, and what a perfect way to pay tribute it would be to Speed if this team was to qualify for a major tournament after all he has helped them get back onto their feet. 

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