Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino Right to Keep Tottenham Continuity with Freund Appointment

Steffen Freund on the Tottenham training field in 2013. It has been confirmed he will be part of Mauricio Pochettino's new coaching staff.
Steffen Freund on the Tottenham training field in 2013. It has been confirmed he will be part of Mauricio Pochettino's new coaching staff.Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2014

Mauricio Pochettino this week gave his first proper interview since being appointed as Tottenham Hotspur head coach.

Speaking to Spurs TV about his general plans for his new team, he also spoke briefly about the coaching staff that will be working with his new players.

Assistant manager Jesus Perez, first-team coach Miguel D’Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez were the names new to Tottenham. Pochettino also revealed one significant holdover from the regimes of Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood:

Freund was a popular player with the north London club between 1999 and 2003. Winning the League Cup in his first season, the German also won over the White Hart Lane faithful with his hard work and passionate representation of the club on and off the pitch.

Inducted to the club's Hall of Fame in 2009, he has worked on the coaching staff since 2012, when he was appointed as assistant manager to Villas-Boas.

Freund and Andre Villas-Boas' relationship is said to have deteriorated in the last few months of their time spent working together.
Freund and Andre Villas-Boas' relationship is said to have deteriorated in the last few months of their time spent working together.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Just how much of a say Pochettino had in Freund being kept on is unclear. The Spurs hierarchy clearly had an influence on his hiring as part of Villas-Boas' staff and on Sherwood's too.

Upon the Portuguese's departure last December, his relationship with Freund had seriously deteriorated according to the Daily Mail's Neil Ashton. "A huge disagreement over the team’s approach and the substitutions" allegedly occurred following Spurs' 1-0 loss to Arsenal the previous September.

Ashton pointed to a shuffling of Freund's sitting place on the bench as a sign of the discord. If that is an accurate identifier, Freund's seating during Sherwood's brief tenure backed up Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey's closer roles to the then-manager.

It's possible the former Germany international might not get on with Spurs' new Argentinian boss. However, it still comes across as a good decision by all concerned.

Freund will have been made clear of his role and evidently has no qualms about working with Pochettino. So long as he gels with his new colleagues, he will be a good ally to have as the new boss attempts to establish his way at Tottenham.

Pochettino appears to have a place for Freund on his coaching staff.
Pochettino appears to have a place for Freund on his coaching staff.Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

As this writer noted upon Freund's return in 2012, even the presence of a liked former player in the new regime cannot guarantee the receptiveness of the fans. Back in 2008, just because Gus Poyet was also there it did not mean Juande Ramos was going to be given any extra leeway. Nor was it the case with Freund throughout Villas-Boas' reign.

Barring Pochettino being unnecessarily jealous at working alongside a coach who still has his name sung by supporters, having Freund around should not be a problem. More importantly in this case, his presence also provides an important sense of continuity.

Goalkeeping coach Tony Parks' departure has been confirmed. The lack of an official word on Ferdinand and Ramsey suggests their involvement with the Tottenham first-team is over too.

A breath of fresh air in the form of Pochettino's appointment might ultimately prove to have been best for Spurs. But in the process of fulfilling that hope, working with someone who has the lay of the land can be a useful tool.

Louis van Gaal keeping Ryan Giggs on at Manchester United is in part to help give him the lay of the land at his new club.
Louis van Gaal keeping Ryan Giggs on at Manchester United is in part to help give him the lay of the land at his new club.Ian Walton/Getty Images

Newly appointed Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal told FIFATV last year of his belief in the need for this, and he has chosen Red Devils legend Ryan Giggs as his assistant boss.

Arsene Wenger employed Pat Rice as his second-in-command up until 2012, replacing him with another Arsenal old boy in Steve Bould. Steve Clarke did a similar job for Jose Mourinho in his first spell at Chelsea, while Brian Kidd has been kept around by Manuel Pellegrini at champions Manchester City.

It is a sensible acknowledgement from otherwise extremely confident coaches that there is some knowledge they do not necessarily possess.

For Pochettino, Freund can answer his questions about the current players, whatever they may be. He knows what they are like, and pertinently, can help them too in understanding their new manager. Freund will also have his own opinions about younger guys the Argentinian might be less familiar with.

Freund will have his own ideas about Tottenham's current players and should be called upon to discuss these with his new boss.
Freund will have his own ideas about Tottenham's current players and should be called upon to discuss these with his new boss.Pete Norton/Getty Images

For instance, in the aforementioned FIFA interview, Van Gaal recalled how coach Hermann Gerland at Bayern Munich informed him about David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Thomas Muller. All three players got their chance under the Dutchman and have since regularly featured in the Bayern side.

The shape of Spurs to come will most notably be defined by the ideas of Pochettino, and the ability of his trusted lieutenants, Perez and D'Agostino, to help implement them.

Despite his part in a tumultuous past year for Tottenham, Freund remains someone who can help them, and with that, the club too.

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