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Hitzfeld intrigued by Nagelsmann appointment

Ottmar Hitzfeld is convinced Julian Nagelsmann is assertive enough to lead Hoffenheim and is intrigued to see how he will cope with the pressures of senior management.

Nagelsmann, 28, was initially due to take charge ahead of the 2016-17 season but replaced Huub Stevens, who resigned due to health problems, on February 11 to become the youngest coach in Bundesliga history.

The new boss guided Hoffenheim to a 1-1 draw away at fellow strugglers Werder Bremen in his first game in charge last Saturday.

Former Bayern Munich coach Hitzfeld is confident Nagelsmann has the attributes required to succeed, but believes the major tests will be how he reacts to the trials and tribulations of the job.

He told Omnisport: “I don’t think that it is a regular thing to become a head coach in the Bundesliga under the age of 30. I think that this is a great exception, but my colleague Nagelsmann has done a great job training youth teams.

“He is a talent in coaching, has clear ideas and he has to be a strong personality, especially when you are still young and lead a team. Then you need a lot of authority and assertiveness. It seems like he has all of that. Otherwise the club would not have such faith in him.

“I think [being a young coach] always has advantages and disadvantages. If you are older, you have more [of a] routine, more experience, you made it through rough times, you know how the media reacts if you have problems, you know what factors matter to lead a team, if maybe the team itself falls apart and the success won’t come.

“But on the other hand, if you are young you communicate with the players easier, you understand them, what also can become a problem, because sometimes you have to take tough decisions.

“If you are brand new, every player is highly motivated, sees his chance and fights for it. After five or six weeks the team stands again, they are well-rehearsed, hierarchies develop again. 

“Then you have the starting players on the one side, and the bench players on the other. That becomes a problem for each coach over the time.”

Thu 18 Feb, 2016
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