(Feature) Schalke coach Wagner in favor of China's football education efforts

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-14 20:54:04|Editor: huaxia

By Oliver Trust and Liu Yang

BERLIN, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Former Huddersfield manager, and current FC Schalke 04 coach, David Wagner encouraged China to continue its efforts to develop football.

"My impression is if China tries something, they keep on trying until the job is done. I like that," he told Xinhua.

The 48-year-old is in favor of the initiative of football lessons in schools but said a competitive youth league should be set up to continue education at a high level.

Wagner said he regards the English Premier League the world's most advanced league. "They provide the highest speed and intensity," the 48-year-old said.

To allow outside know-how of coaches and experts "made them gain quality," the 1997 Euro League winner emphasized.


Wagner recommended China not to reduce its effort to develop football. "Try to host the World Cup and go on dreaming about winning the trophy."

In his perspective, there are many examples that prove "what enthusiasm creates." Wagner mentioned South Korea (2002) and Russia (2018), who both reached World Cup semi-finals.

He can't understand the difficulties in finding talented players. "China has been successful in team-sports in basketball and volleyball. So, they know how to create success," he emphasized, adding: "There must be a lot of football talents among 1.4 billion people."

Wagner said he is supporting the idea of football training in schools to attract talent as he is in favor of setting up an advanced youth league at a high level based around the professional clubs.

To count on good coaching education, know-how from outside and consider the Chinese way of team-sports development will create success, "but this takes 10 to 15 years."


Schalke has been one of the most successful clubs regarding talent development over the past decades as stars like Manuel Neuer, Leon Goretzka (Bayern), Julian Draxler (Paris), Leroy Sane (Manchester City) and Mesut Oezil (Arsenal) had their careers start at the club.

Wagner said, "good coaches" are the reason for the club's success. "There are so many competitors within a range of 15 miles of Schalke. You have Moenchengladbach, Leverkusen, Duesseldorf, Cologne, Bochum, and others.

Schalke's advantage "is a guy like talent coach Norbert Elgert, delivering quality for over 25 years. I rate him one of the most effective coaches in Europe."


He praised the Premier League's strategy to count on international input regarding coaching and training. "This has increased the league's quality," he said. "English football gave up an assumed unwritten law claiming they know everything about football."

Following that pattern the English league attracted top players and coaches.

Referees interfering much less often than in the Bundesliga is making English football faster, he is convinced. "Fewer interruptions create speed."

In his opinion, the German Bundesliga remains a competitive league with much better-equipped arenas and larger crowds. "The league is very balanced, everyone can beat everyone, and it is hard to win points."

When it comes to world-wide attention, the Premier League has an advantage. "You can see the games all around the world due to massive TV deals, but you can't see the Bundesliga all around the world to the same extent."

His success in Huddersfield taught him football is providing opportunities for underdogs.

"We managed to get promoted from the Championship with the third-lowest budget to the Premier League, secured our participation with by far lowest budget, maybe the lowest in history."

Sticking together is paying off "as long as you follow your principles and a plan, something you couldn't imagine before can happen."

Huddersfield might have been his ticket to the very top of football coaching, he admitted. But he claims never to have aimed at titles as a life goal. "My desire was and is coaching, no matter on what level. Titles might be nice to have, but I was happy with my job at every stage."