Prospective Adelaide coach Verbeek planning Reds revamp

Gertjan Verbeek during his time as FC Twente manager Source: Getty Images

Gertjan Verbeek - Adelaide United’s coach-in-waiting - is planning to shake up the Reds squad, should he sign on for the job.

The Dutchman has been studying the club and its players with forensic focus since entering into discussions with chairman Piet van der Pol several weeks ago about succeeding German Marco Kurz.

He watched both their finals games - the 1-0 victory over Melbourne City and the dramatic penalty shootout loss to Perth Glory - from his Netherlands base.

And the 56-year-old, whose last assignment at FC Twente ended in a sacking 14 months ago after just 149 days in charge - will aim to take the Reds to greater heights should he take the reigns.

“If I come, of course there will be some changes. Some players will go and some will come,” he told The World Game.

“It’s not easy to always find good Australian players, so it would also be necessary to look abroad to find players.

“Last year Adelaide had a little bit problems to make the goals. But the defending was good, and their last few games produced some really spectacular football. 

“The game against Perth was really unbelievable.

“If we make an agreement for me to sign then I hope the team will be even better next year. That’s always what you try.

“Everything I hear about Australia is positive. I think for my wife and little child, a great environment for them to be there.

“When you get the possibility to join one of the better clubs in Australia like Adelaide you have to think about it.”

Adelaide would be the ninth club for Verbeek in a coaching career which began at Heracles Almelo and took him to Heerenveen, Feyenoord, back to Heracles, AZ Alkmaar, Nurnberg, VfL Bochum and then FC Twente.

During his near three-year tenure at Bochum he was responsible for bringing Socceroo Robbie Kruse to the club, and coached former Socceroos Brett Holman, James Holland and goalkeeper Joey Didulica at AZ.

He is due to meet van der Pol in the Netherlands in the coming days to discuss the finer details of the offer.

The pair have a connection dating back to van der Pol’s time as a director with Dutch clubs SC Telstar and ADO Den Haag.

“He asked me a few weeks ago if I was interested and I said I’d think about it,” added Verbeek.

“We’ll talk again soon and I need to discuss this also with my family and see if it’s good for them. 

“For them it’s also a big adventure and they know nobody there. So it’s also a big step. We must make a decision together soon because pre-season is coming in July.

“I’ve asked people about the level of the A-League and my feeling is that the best teams in Australia would be able to compete in the Eredivisie and do a good job there, maybe around the lower end of the table.”

Verbeek is a long-time admirer of the Australian sporting mentality.

He visited Sydney and Melbourne in the winter of 2013, canvassing AFL and rugby league clubs over their structures and sports science programs.

He also headed to Canberra to liaise with ex-Socceroo Tony Vidmar at the AIS before its subsequent closure by the FFA, and had meetings with PFA chief John Didulica and his sibling, former AZ and Ajax goalkeeper Joey.

He has fond memories of his 18 months coaching Holman at AZ, before the attacker’s eventual move to Aston Villa.

“He, like all the Australians I’ve worked with, had a great mentality. Never complaining, just working.

“He’d be off around the world to play with the Australian national team, step back off the plane on Friday and play on Sunday. It was unbelievable. He did a good job. 

“I like this attitude of Australian players. It’s different to some Dutch players.”