By Ced Seredrica
A new dawn is on the horizon for the Azkals as no-nonsense Terry Butcher takes the helm.
The Thomas Dooley Era is over as the Terry Butcher Era begins. Butcher was named the new coach of The Azkals yesterday at a grand event in Pasay City. Butcher, capped 77 times by the Three Lions and having played in three World Cups is arguably the Philippines’ highest profile coach in its history. It is exciting times for Philippine Football but what can we expect from Butcher that will be different from managers past?
The Lion will have to assert himself over the stray dogs.
Butcher has a reputation of being a hard-nosed, no nonsense defender back in his playing days. The former Three Lions captain leads by example and expect him to bring this kind of leadership with The Azkals as the team has just been on ‘Cloud 9’ after qualifying for their first ever Asian Cup.
In recent years, problems in the team’s locker room have been well documented, with players clashing against the former manager over minuscule things. Butcher, an old-school player who values discipline above all, will have to make sure that his wards stay grounded and their egos in check.
Having captained a star studded England side in 1990, Butcher will be used to handling inflated egos and big personalities. One has to hope that he can become an excellent man-manager and motivator in his first foray into international management.
International experience with a blend of above-average tactical nous
Terry Butcher is no stranger to Asia, having been born in Singapore and had a brief tenure managing A-League side Sydney FC. Butcher has shown in previous stops that he is not the typical English manager stereotype.
Butcher hails Inverness title win: Inverness manager Terry Butcher hails his side after Dundee’s defeat sees the H… http://bit.ly/dCrKg2
— BBC Scotland News (@BBCScotlandNews) April 21, 2010
Butcher’s previous teams has shown discipline and finesse when it comes to playing, typically lining up in a 4-4-2, or 4-1-2-1-2, anchored by a solid defence, he employs pressing and hard tackling when in their own half with fast transition switches from defence to attack after gaining possession of the ball.
Expect players like Dennis Villanueva and Sean Kane to thrive under Butcher’s reign as he tends to rely on solid defensive midfielders to orchestrate the transition game he so likes to play. In essence it will also afford players like Manny Ott and Kevin Ingreso more license to roam in attack with the knowledge of having solid defensive mids behind them.
A very capable coaching staff is ready to assist
New Senior Football Advisor Scott Cooper is no slouch either. The Irish coach has over 100 games under his belt in the Thai league system. His most notable accomplishment so far is leading Buriram United to an unbeaten stretch both domestically and internationally, steering the club to the Top Ten in Asian club football rankings in the process, making Buriram the first Thai club to achieve the feet.
Welcome to the team, SCOTT COOPER!!! pic.twitter.com/DWl1G4O3St
— The Azkals (@TheAzkalsPH) June 14, 2018
Cooper sports a winning percentage of 59.70%, Winning 80, drawing 28, and losing 26 games out of 134. The Irishman will be expected to help ease Terry Butcher’s transition into ASEAN football.
Veteran Goalkeeping Coach Steve Marsella stays on and reunites with Butcher, having been part of the staff together at Inverness CT.
Completing the Staff is ex-national team player Chris Greatwich, currently the team manager of KAYA FC in the Philippines Football League. Greatwich is best known for his goal in the 2010 Suzuki Cup that propelled the Azkals to their most historic win. Greatwich has been with Kaya FC since 2013, partly handling coaching duties since 2015.
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has done a great job in hiring a new head coach months before the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, giving the team ample time to prepare and integrate into Butcher’s system. A good showing in the coming biennial tournament will do wonders for the Azkals confidence heading into next year’s Asian Cup.