Wednesday February 7 2018
Can Seedorf save Depor?

Daryl Hammond asks the question as Deportivo La Coruna entrust the former Real Madrid and Milan star to orchestrate another great escape, despite his lack of managerial experience...

In the same way that good students don’t always make the best teachers, often the best players don’t make the best Coaches.

Diego Maradona, Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer - the list goes on of world-class players enduring short-lived or disastrous managerial careers.

With Edgar Davids moving to the fourth tier of English football with Barnet as a joint-player-manager, Clarence Seedorf stepping into the dugout at Deportivo La Coruna isn’t the craziest managerial appointment in modern history. But no doubt it certainly turned a few heads.

The Dutchman becomes Depor’s third Coach this season and their seventh in just four seasons. Unless he can keep them in La Liga, they will likely be looking for another in June.

With two clubs and only 10 months of experience under his belt, some are understandably sceptical about his ability to stave off relegation.

With Cristobal Parralo losing his job after a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Real Sociedad, Depor’s problems are pretty evident.

They have the poorest defensive record in the League after conceding 51 goals, with a 7-1 reverse at the Santiago Bernabeu emphasising not only how good Real Madrid were on the day, but how poor the Galicians defended.

Experience and pragmatism clearly needed to be the approach, and by all intensive purposes, this seemed the way they were heading as initial reports linked former Real Sociedad boss Martin Lasarte with the vacantcy, but he turned it down.

Indeed, someone like Javi Gracia would have been an excellent choice, before he was pinched by Watford.

With this latest appointment, they are swinging for the fences, appointing a high-profile but inexperienced name in the hope that they galvanse a squad devoid of confidence.

Seedorf’s pedigree as a player is under little question, boasting four Champions League medals, as well as League titles with Real Madrid, Milan and Ajax. But his suitability to coaching is not yet as clear. 

His first role saw him parachuted into a struggling Milan team. In hindsight, it was a herculean task, which few Coaches could have solved in such a short time span.

Still he jumped at the chance, retiring from football and leaving Botafogo in Brazil to try his hand at management. He mustered the best he could with an ageing squad seriously lacking in proper investment.

Thanks to seven wins in their last nine matches – including a derby win over Inter – he took Milan from 11th to 8th in Serie A, missing out on Europa League qualification to Torino, who had a superior head-to-head.

With no European football, he was controversially let go after just five months, with no time to fully implement his philosophy.

Reported incidents of clashes with players and management behind the scenes perhaps give an insight into what is like as a head Coach, but much of it is speculation.

His only other job saw him take charge of Chinese second-tier side Shenzhen FC, but he was let go six months later after a bottom-half finish.

Seedorf hasn’t been fully sussed out as a manager, but with two positions and two sackings to his name, his CV doesn’t make for great reading. Therefore, staying up helps him as much as it does Deportivo in providing a potential springboard for greater success.

His dream job in Milan may have come and gone, but perhaps the most pivotal one in his managerial career to date is about to begin. 

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