Adelaide coaching target Verbeek has right mentality for A-League, says Holman


Gertjan Verbeek - the seasoned Dutchman set to be announced as Adelaide United’s new coach - will "fit the Australian mentality perfectly", according to ex-Socceroo Brett Holman.

Recently released from Brisbane Roar, Holman, 35, enjoyed a productive 18 months under the scraggly-haired 56-year-old at AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie before joining Aston Villa in the Premier League back in 2012.

Verbeek, who has coached in the Netherlands and Germany, guided AZ to the Dutch Cup the following year, and is viewed by Holman with some reverence.

Reds chairman Piet van der Pol is understood to have hand-picked Verbeek to replace the outgoing German Marco Kurz, with the club just a game away from the A-League grand final.

He is expected to arrive next month, and Holman views him as a galvanising figure - so long as the players buy into his vision.

“I had a great period under him at AZ,” Holman said of Verbeek.

“He’s a well respected coach who will fit the Australian mentality perfectly because he loves hard workers.

“He’s a hard worker himself and is always looking to the details regarding improvement - not only on the field but off it as well.

“He’s across everything and focused also on the nutrition side of things. He doesn’t leave anything to chance.”

Adelaide will be the ninth club of a coaching career which began at Heracles Almelo and took Verbeek to Heerenveen - whom he featured for during his playing career - Feyenoord, back to Heracles, AZ, Nurnberg, VfL Bochum and most recently FC Twente.

During his near three-year tenure at Bochum he was responsible for bringing Socceroo Robbie Kruse to the club.

His most recent assignment - a planned rescue mission at Twente - didn’t go according to plan, with the club already in strife when he arrived in late October 2017 - 149 days later he was out the door with the team marooned at the bottom of the table.

They were subsequently relegated.

“He knows what he wants from a team and is a bit of an all-rounder,” Holman added.

“He was the first coach to hammer home the importance of really taking care of your body in all aspects.

“He rewards players for hard work and dedication and back in Holland he’s a well regarded name.

“He’s knows what needs to be done in football.

“It’s one thing, though, for a coach to have his philosophy but players have to buy into that.

“And that will be the case at Adelaide, like anywhere else, should he be appointed.

“He’s a very approachable kind of character who lives for the game.

“The players he works with need to show the same type of dedication. He expects a lot from his players but in return he tries to help them in every way possible.”

Holman said Verbeek is an adaptable leader who likes his teams to play out from the back but can also be a pragmatist when need be.

“I’m sure he’ll have been looking at the footage of how Adelaide play and will pick the pieces from that. What is good and what he thinks can be improved on.

“Obviously the Dutch school is trying to play at every corner and out from the back.

“But he will also have that strong, hard mentality from his time in Germany.”

Should he be anointed, Verbeek will become Adelaide’s second Dutch coach after Rini Coolen led the club in 2010 before he was demoted and finally quit the following year.