Ange Postecoglou will “kill it” as Tottenham manager when he takes charge of the Premier League club, according to a man who knows him well, the Socceroos coach, Graham Arnold.
Postecoglou has swapped Celtic for Spurs, with Tottenham confirming he will become the club’s first permanent manager since Antonio Conte left in March.
The 57-year-old is the first Australian to manage a Premier League club.
Arnold, who knows Postecoglou well from their clashes in the A-League and having also worked in close quarters with him in the Australian national setup, has no doubt the former Socceroos coach will prove to be a success in England.
“Just from working with him there [at the 2003 Youth World Cup] I could see the obsession with football,” Arnold said on Tuesday. “He’s just totally obsessed with the game. It’s his life. I always knew he had that mentality of where he wanted to go and that was to the top.
“Going to Tottenham is a great job for him and I think he’ll kill it.”
News of Postecoglou’s appointment has not been met with universal acclaim though, with some Spurs fans mirroring the initially hostile reception he received in Glasgow after taking over at Celtic.
Postecoglou was able to turn opinions around, and five trophies won over the course of his two-season tenure at Parkhead have left few, if any, in Scotland doubting his ability.
Winning over the Tottenham faithful presents as tough if not more of a challenge, but Arnold believes his compatriot has the talent and mental toughness to again silence the sceptics.
“Ange has always been someone who has always been so determined to prove the doubters wrong,” Arnold said. “I think in a lot of ways that’s his motivation and I’m just happy for him.
“Me and Ange are mates, but we were competitors against each other and to see him doing what he’s doing is just brilliant.”
Arnold has recently witnessed Postecoglou’s attention to detail and total dedication first-hand, having spent a few “full-on” days with him at Celtic, where he saw him performing the dual role of coach and manager.
“On the tactical, side of things he’s not relying on other people to tell him what to do as he’s got that nous” Arnold said. “On the managerial side, he knows man management and how to get the best out of people.
“Ange has always been motivated to do it his way and that’s working well.”
Postecoglou’s rise to prominence in Europe comes as other Australian coaches make their mark on overseas leagues.
Kevin Muscat won the J-League title last year after succeeding Postecoglou at Yokohama F. Marinos, while Patrick Kisborbo became the first Australian to coach a team in one of Europe’s big-five leagues when he was appointed by Ligue 1 side Troyes, although he could not stave off relegation this season.
“We might not be that bad, hey,” Arnold said. “These guys will end up overseas and Ange is the leader of that pathway.
“You need someone to open the eyes of people around the world to say ‘Australian coaches might not be so bad.’ Ange has done that fantastically for all of us.”