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Exclusive: John Van’t Schip Looking To Shake Up The A-League With Melbourne Heart (Goal.com)

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Goal.com’s Daniel Phan caught up with the former Netherlands and Ajax star immediately after he signed with the new A-League franchise.

Oct 12, 2009 8:24:00 AM

John van’t Schip was officially unveiled as the inaugural coach of new A-league club Melbourne Heart at a media conference earlier this morning.

Following the announcement, Goal.com spoke exclusively with the ex-Netherlands assistant coach, who is keen to introduce a new dimension to the Australian domestic competition.

The Dutchman boasts a handsome football CV that includes playing spells with Ajax Amsterdam and Genoa in Italy, in addition to a stint as assistant to Marco Van Basten in the Netherlands representation at the 2008 European Championship.

Van’t Schip has been appointed to fulfill Melbourne Heart’s pledge of producing a cultured, free-flowing passing side.

“Of course, I have my history and background,” Van’t Schip told Goal.com.

“I have been with the Ajax [Amsterdam] academy since I was 11 or 12 and played at the club until I was 28.

“I then returned to become a youth trainer and also have experience with Holland where I was working with the national team.

“It’s in my blood, so of course I will want to implicate the Ajax and Dutch way of playing.”

He admits that blending the Dutch footballing philosophy with traditional Australian sporting ethos could provide an initial challenge.

He continued, “I will be looking for that mixture of the Dutch way of playing with the good mentality of the Australian players.”

“The biggest challenge will be to bring together the tactical and technical traits of the Dutch and physical and mental way of playing the Australians.

“This mentality is not only just in football, but in all sports. It’s a really good mentality.”

His first major task is to build a playing list capable of expressing his favoured style, modelled against the total football system made famous by the great Dutch sides of the 1970s and 80s.

A key part of that process will be Van’t Schips’ “connections” within Europe and the Netherlands, where he will be looking to bring in players boasting both “quality and experience”.

“The first challenge is to pick the players and find those who I think I can manage to play the game with my vision,” he added.

“Of course we will have a look for Europe and Holland and manage to get these players.

“I have my connections in Europe and especially in Holland and it is important that when we get players from abroad we are assured that he has got quality and proven experience at the top level.”

The former FC Twente boss insists however that he won’t focus entirely upon Europe, keen to cast his eye over the current crop of A-League stars.

He continued, “Before I arrived, [Football Operations Manager] John Didulica shortlisted about 40 players, and we’re going to look at all of them and to see the quality of these players.”

“I will have a good chance to look around to see the players in the A-league who I think can bring that kind of play. They will have to think and act the same way, and that will cost time and training – it wont take one day.

“I will see as much as possible and we would like to talk to the possible players that could come to Melbourne.

“These are the plans for the coming weeks.”

New to the country, Van’t Schip admits he will be consulting as many people as possible, starting with Australian-based former Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen.

“I’m glad Jesper [Olsen] is living here. I played with him and he was fantastic player and person so of course I will meet him and talk with him and everybody else who can help me.”

Daniel Phan, Goal.com

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