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Former Socceroo Zdrilic linked with Sheffield United assistant role

David Zdrilic (C) Source: Supplied

Former Socceroos striker and current Chicago Fire assistant coach David Zdrilic has been linked with a potential role at soon-to-be Championship side Sheffield United.

Zdrilic, who has been the assistant coach at Major League Soccer side Chicago since the start of 2020, was linked to the assistant coaches role by The Athletic after his former colleague Alexander Blessin was a favourite for the Sheffield United head coaching position. 

However, both Zdrilic and Blessin's move is now unlikely to materialise due to Blessin's inability to secure a work permit in England. 

"(Blessin's) application for a visa is believed to have been turned down but he can appeal against the verdict," wrote Richard Sutcliffe. 

"Sources in Germany suggest had Blessin been offered the United job he could have linked up again with David Zdrilic, now assistant coach at MLS side Chicago Fire but also once part of the Leipzig youth staff.

"Former Australia international Zdrilic, 47, has experience of British football from his time playing for Walsall and Aberdeen in the early 2000s." 

Sheffield United, whose relegation from the Premier League is already mathematically confirmed, are on the lookout for a new coach after Chris Wilder's departure in March. 

"As many as 25 names are believed to have been initially identified and then assessed over the past five or so weeks as to their suitability to the role," Sutcliffe wrote.

"Extensive due diligence — not only in terms of preferred playing style but also whether a candidate was both interested in the vacancy if already in a job and gettable — was then undertaken on all those potential candidates.

"Blessin ticked many of those boxes thanks to his work in steering (Belgian first division side) Oostende to an unexpected fifth-place finish and a crack at qualifying for the Europa Conference League via the play-offs." 

Prior to his work in Belgium, Blessin and Zdrilic had teamed up at RB Leipzig with both coaching the under-17 and under-19 sides. 

At Leipzig, Blessin and Zdrilic were working under Ralf Rangnick who worked in a number of different high profile roles at Red Bull during his time there. 

Rangnick is one of the most influential football minds of the last 20 years, and was one of the first proponents of Gegenpressing, a tactical style heavily used by German coaches including Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann, Ralph Hasenhüttl, and Jürgen Klopp. 

Zdrilic played under Rangnick at Ulm in the Bundesliga in the 1999-2000 season. 

Source SBS The World Game