What will Frank de Boer bring Tottenham

If Frank de Boer were to take over at Tottenham, and he is clearly the number one candidate despite all the recent talk from others about the new flavour of the month Mauricio Pochettino, what can Spurs fans expect?

What will Frank de Boer bring Tottenham


Tottenham have approached Marc Overmars the Director of Football at Ajax over Frank de Boer but with the season not yet finished that approach is not official. Tottenham can't make an official approach while Tim Sherwood is still in post with games to go that would not be appropriate.

For that reason Tottenham have had to deny an approach has been made. The Dutch media are openly discussing who is going to replace him at Ajax, they fully expect him to go to Spurs.

"Reports that we have made approaches to other clubs regarding coaching staff are wholly inaccurate.

"We've not contacted any club regarding coaching appointments. We regret that a statement such as this is necessary."

A chat has taken place by telephone within the last month, the official approach will come later.

Anything is possible in this life is you have sheer belief, total and utter belief in what you are doing. That is Frank de Boer, he has sheer belief in what he is doing at Ajax, the key is will he get that same feel from Daniel Levy.

If the pair meet and Levy can outline a framework within which Frank de Boer can see himself create something then he will become the next Tottenham Hotspur manager.

The Spurs faithful can expect to see possession based football and accelerated individual player development, just something I have been suggesting we need in the Spurs Need To Go Mental series.

To understand the De Boer approach and the development of the individual we must go back and look a little at the history of Ajax. The Michels model as it is often referred to is an individual based training program as opposed to a collective based training program. This is something again I stress we need in the Spurs Need To Go Mental series.

Louis Van Gaal changed that approach to the collective and while Ajax have had short term success, long term the foundations have had to be relaid and the youth system overhauled again in an effort to provide the players to take Ajax forward in Europe, their long term objective.

What individual player based training does is allow a player within a game to make more of the right decisions, it has them take responsibility instead of giving it to others. Currently we have a midfield packed with players who give the responsibilty to someone else. Christian Eriksen however having come from Ajax is a player who takes responsibility and thus stands out.

Building a players character, building his mind so he has the strength to take responsibility is just, if not more, important than ball skill development. Talent can take you so far, talent and a talented brain take you to the winners enclosure.

In essence that is Frank de Boer's philosophy. Improve the individual and you will improve the team as a whole, improve the parts and you improve the end product.

Johan Cruyff is an ardent supporter of this approach and was instrumental in Frank de Boer taking over at Ajax. He was the best player in the world in his day and once said:

“I never practice tricks. I play very simply. That’s what it’s all about. The solution that seems the simplest is in fact the most difficult one. With most players, tactics are missing. You can divide tactics into insight, trust and daring.”

Guus Hiddink another Dutchman and a successful coach shares the same outlook.

“Players should not just run with their legs, but with their head as well.


"They should be conscious of the fact that they constantly have to think during a game. Sometimes players act without thinking. But they have to actively consider how they can break their opponent.”

Which of Tottenham's current players are thinking players and which are just runners? Who looks to break down the opposition with a run or a pass? Kyle Walker is a prime example, he is always working with Lennon to try and engineer a pass in behind the full-back for Lennon to run onto, when it fails he gets moaned at.

He should be praised, that's the thinking players approach, that's exactly what we need and exactly the type of player Frank de Boer would attempt to create more of.


"The individual cleverness of the players was missing when I first got here [in 2006 as a youth team coach]," De Boer once told the Dutch media.

"The individual action at the highest level is essential. We are now in training much more individualized. That is so important."


 Intelligence + talent = winning, just talent = losing.

In games with limited openings an opportunity must be seized and that requires the intelligence, making the right decision at the right time. Frank de Boer will look for and look to produce intelligent players and that comes with experience so youth would be given it's chance to learn.

"We know if we want to survive, we have to generate new players. I like it more that way than just buying.” 

Those are the words of Frank de Boer but they could equally be the words of Daniel Levy, hat is the model the Spurs chairman wants. Barcelona was remodelled from the ground upwards, Spurs are on the same journey.

So what will we see on the field if he were to arrive? Well Ajax play a 4-3-3 system with a high line defence which means players must aggressively press to win the ball back. We are all familiar with the concept now so the transition to his style shouldn't take an age to achieve, we are not starting from scratch with an unfamiliar system.

Players interchange positions to pull the opposition out of their structure thus creating holes that are then exploited. That is his philosophy, much the same as Andre Villas-Boas in fact.

Interestingly his defensive press when the opposition have the ball depends upon the oppositions skill level, the more skilful the side the less aggressive the press, so an AVB system with flexibility.



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