Ange Postecoglou is the best coach of any code in Australia

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By , Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Ange Postecoglou is such a talented coach he could solve the Wallabies’ line-out woes and help the Australian cricket team’s top order tame spin on the subcontinent in no time.

    Postecoglou is without a doubt the best coach of any code currently in Australia.

    The only reason the mainstream media fails to laud the Socceroos coach in the way they would a commensurate NRL or AFL tactician, is because they possess virtually no understanding of the game’s global significance.

    That probably explains why outlets like Channel Nine persistently refer to Tim Cahill as ‘Darren’ – a handy tennis player in his day – and label soccer players ‘rioters’ on shows like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

    They then scratch their heads and wonder why so few in the key 18 to 49 advertising demographic – many of whom are football fans – watch the network.

    The inability of the average Aussie TV station to comprehend the world around them doesn’t faze our Ange, although it would do him a disservice to suggest he simply gets on with the job.

    Far from merely getting on with it, Postecoglou routinely wills his team to victory in even the most adverse of circumstances.

    Last week’s 1-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in a furnace-like Abu Dhabi just about ranks as the greatest of the Postecoglou era – and there were several key factors behind it.

    Before a ball had been kicked and despite the energy-sapping heat, Postecoglou refused to countenance the possibility of playing for a draw.

    He also persisted with Brad Smith at left-back despite the Bournemouth defender having a shocker against Iraq in Perth, and was rewarded with a pinpoint assist for the winner.

    Lastly, he managed Tim Cahill to perfection – leaving him on the bench in Perth and introducing him with 20 minutes to go against the UAE to devastating effect.

    The Socceroos could have dropped their heads after missing several chances in front of a packed Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, but that’s not the Postecoglou way.

    The team’s steely self-belief was forged in that incredible Asian Cup win on home soil, where Postecoglou outmanoeuvred a skilful South Korea despite their star man Son Heung-min scoring with virtually the last kick of normal time.

    Channel Nine have probably never heard of Son – he only scored twice and set up another for Tottenham at the weekend – and far from the presidential reception Portugal received for winning Euro 2016, Australia’s continental triumph was met largely with stony silence by a federal government no doubt baffled by the significance of what had just occurred.

    In spite of it all, or perhaps because of it, Postecoglou continues on his relentless march to transform the Socceroos from a team routinely looked down upon – including in their own backyard – into a genuine football force.

    One of the most impressive things he does is try to condition those around him to stop treating the Socceroos as second-class citizens – even if it flusters the press.

    It’s one thing to be outspoken, but it’s entirely another to do so and try to keep stakeholders onside. Just ask Scott Miller.

    Meanwhile, for all the online mocking of Cahill’s ‘legacy,’ the reality is that he’s now scored an astonishing 48 goals in national team colours – despite making his debut at age 24.

    He will almost certainly rack up the half century of goals on the road to Russia and in doing so, Cahill deserves to be officially recognised as one of the greatest to ever pull on a Socceroos jersey.

    It’s testament to Postecoglou’s man management skills that Cahill has never been allowed to overshadow the rest of the squad.

    So can the Socceroos qualify for Russia? They will invariably take it one game at a time.

    But with a once-in-a-generation coach in charge, maybe it’s time we started to dream big.

    Quarter-finals, anyone?

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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