Former Australia international David Zdrilic has called on the Socceroos to appoint RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick as head coach in an “once-in-a-generation opportunity”.
Ange Postecoglou guided Australia to their fourth successive World Cup last month but the 52-year-old surprisingly stepped down following last month’s inter-continental play-off victory over Honduras.
Luiz Felipe Scolari, Jurgen Klinsmann, Marcelo Bielsa, Slavoljub Muslin and Graham Arnold have all been linked with the vacant post ahead of next year’s tournament in Russia.
But Zdrilic believes 59-year-old Rangnick, who oversaw Leipzig’s promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016 and previously led Schalke and Hoffenheim, would be ideal for the Socceroos.
“Honestly, if you’re looking to get a world-class coach to do the job, who understands the Australian mentality, he’s probably number one on your list,” Zdrilic – working as a coach with Leipzig’s under-17 team – told The World Game.
“Tactically, this guy is unbelievable. There’s only a handful of coaches in the world who are at his level. To change the game in Germany, as he has, and is still doing, is remarkable.
“If he’s available, it’s probably a once-in-a-generation opportunity to have one of the world’s best in charge.”
“Ralf’s style is a fast, attacking, ruthless approach. To me, you could use the same words to describe Australia when we’re playing our most natural and most effective style. We love taking the game on,” he continued.
“Without offending anyone here – the difference is that Ralf knows how to make that style of play effective at the highest level.
“Right now, he’s probably in the top three or four football ‘innovators’ in the whole world. Leipzig were in the fourth division four years ago – and they finished second in the Bundesliga last year, mostly with players that he either scouted, developed or bought himself.
“He loves bringing in young players and has a gift for getting the best out of them.”
Zdrilic added: “He’s just extended his contract this month, so he’s clearly not actively seeking a move. But everyone has a dream of coaching internationally. And with Ralf, he’s always looked for the biggest challenge. Defying expectations is in his DNA and the Socceroos need somebody like that right now.”
Australia have been drawn in Group C for the World Cup, alongside pre-tournament favourites France, Denmark and Peru.
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