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Albert Stuivenberg, Jose Mourinho, Spurs, Arsenal and Wales !
Tuesday, 10th Nov 2020 10:17

Wales, Arsenal and Spurs ? A bizarre combination indeed, and one which Spurs boss Jose Mourinho believes is a clear conflict of interest as far as his north London club is concerned. With Albert Stuivenberg being Arsenal coach and Wales coach Mourinho thinks him taking charge of his three first team players for two weeks is totally unacceptable. He also requested Wales don’t ‘break’ Gareth Bale. If you think that’s a bizarre combination, let’s look at a pretty successful one as well. But first Mourinho.

Spurs trio Gareth Bale, Ben Davies and Joe Rodon are in Wales' latest squad. Boss Ryan Giggs will not be involved so Robert Page will be in charge, supported by 50 year old Stuivenberg. "National team matches should have coaches that are exclusively for them and not coaches that work for other clubs," Mourinho said. "From what I am reading it's not Giggs that is responsible for these matches. "I'm sorry about it because on the previous fixtures he called me and we spoke about Ben Davies, not Gareth, because Gareth was not there. "We shared opinions and the situation which probably isn't going to happen this time and the fact that one of the coaches is an Arsenal coach doesn't make me very comfortable.Its a conflicted interest’ Dutchman Stuivenberg and Giggs worked together under Louis van Gaal at Manchester United from 2014 to 2016. Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho is "uncomfortable" that Arsenal assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg is part of Wales' coaching team. Stuivenberg, the former boss of Belgian side Genk, was added to Giggs' Wales staff in March 2018 and since December 2019 has been part of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal coaching team.

Whatever prompted Mourinho to make comments on the Wales international side and call it a conflict of interest is not known. It has never arisen with players of Swansea and Cardiff as they both integrate for international games. And I’m unsure if other international sides have been the victim of such strange comments from Mourinho, or maybe he sees himself now as some sort of north London crusader already looking for excuses for his next failing.

Stuivenberg and Giggs improving Wales

Since Stuivenberg has been on the Wales coaching scene the standard of play has clearly improved, a more strategic approach is evident and off pitch management of the game has seen tactical changes in the game itself. Clearly Page and Giggs are a part of that progression, and let’s not forget Ex Swans coach Tony Roberts and Manchester United coach Tony Strudwick, but don’t be fooled in to thinking it is entirely down to them. Albert Stuivenberg has a long pedigree not only at Arsenal but at Manchester United and Genk. Not unlike Steve Cooper at Swansea he had involvement at youth levels with the Netherlands before taking on bigger challenges. In fact that isn’t where the comparisons with Cooper end, the coaching and managerial role at Swansea was between Stuivenberg and Cooper, and it was a close call. In fact then Swans CEO Trevor Birch now also at Tottenham, but seemingly with no conflict of interest (sic) now works in an executive capacity, and he will almost certainly say It was a very tough footballing decision.

Even the most successful European managers like Louis Van Gaal has stated Albert Stuivenberg has to coach my team ‘Then we practise different patterns. We film the training session. The next meeting is the 'unit meeting': we do defenders, midfielders and forwards. Albert has selected the images of the training but also former matches that explains more of our game-plan. Then the match is coming. I don't say anything, only one sentence before the match. Then half-time I say what we have to change, or what we have to improve, or I don't say anything because it was very good. It happens. The day after the match, Albert Stuivenberg has to select video clips again of the match. Then we evaluate the match. I go through the match with Albert. He has a tactical brain no football person should ignore’

Don’t be fooled by Van Gaals unsuccessful time In Manchester, if that is what it can be referred to, however short lived, he had major success at Barca, Bayern, AZ and as Netherlands coach. Expectations defeated Van Gaal, and of course the perceived arrogance of a support and it’s sense of entitlement. Only Manchester United supporters would argue differently.

Wales now have potentially the best coaching set up they have had for years, if not ever. Roberts and Strudwick alongside Page, Giggs and Stuivenberg were finally putting things together and heading in the right direction. Now it’s one down, and whatever happens next Robert Page will lead out Wales for the next three international games. But don’t be fooled because with a tactician like Albert Stuivenberg backing him up, the future with or without Giggs is a bright one. And if Giggs does find himself in a position where he cannot return as Wales manager, don’t be surprised if Albert Stuivenberg is a well considered replacement.

Updates all week on Swansea Independent


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