Bahrain coach tipped to take over the All Whites

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 09/07/2014
Anthony Hudson
Reuters

YOUNG MOURINHO?: Anthony Hudson, the man reportedly being headhunted by NZ Football to coach the All Whites, has been given an interesting likeness by well known English manager Harry Redknapp.

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The ambitious 33-year-old Bahrain boss reportedly being headhunted as the next All Whites coach has been likened to a young Jose Mourinho by prominent English manager Harry Redknapp.

Britain's Daily Mirror reported yesterday that Anthony Hudson - the son of former Chelsea star Alan - was New Zealand Football's first choice to replace Ricki Herbert and that it had approached the Bahrain Football Association for permission to speak to him about taking charge.

NZF chief executive Andy Martin would not discuss individuals yesterday and said the national body was in the process of conducting ''stage four'' interviews with the three shortlisted candidates.

Martin hoped to make an appointment by the end of the month but said the World Cup in Brazil had caused some delays in the recruitment process.

That conflicted with the Mirror report, which claimed NZF wanted to appoint a new boss ''within the next few days.''

Hudson, who has coached Bahrain since August last year, would be a bold appointment.

After a modest playing career, the former West Ham United junior took his first head coaching job as a 27-year-old with the Real Maryland Monarchs in the United States second division.

In 2010 he linked with Redknapp as Tottenham Hotspur's reserve team coach before landing the top job at Conference Premier club Newport County following a glowing reference.

''He reminds me of a young Jose Mourinho, he's ambitious and has the talent and drive to succeed,'' Redknapp said.

Hudson, who holds a UEFA Pro Licence, was sacked by Newport after picking up just eight points from 12 games but he has bounced back in Bahrain, initially as the Kingdom's under-23 coach.

Last year he guided Bahrain to their first under-23 Gulf Cup of Nations title before being promoted to the senior side, who he has coached to a four-win, five-draw, three-loss record.

In a March interview with the Daily Mail, Hudson said his goal was to qualify Bahrain for the 2018 World Cup.

''Personally, I'm not itching to get anywhere right now,'' Hudson said.

''But the main goal is to be managing at the very highest level; Champions League, World Cup, Premier League, La Liga. That's where I want to be. I believe I'll get there.''

Hudson's coaching heroes are charismatic Chelsea coach Mourinho and Marseille manager Marcelo Bielsa.

He spent time with both last year, with Mourinho then at Real Madrid and Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao.

''Mourinho is a winner,'' Hudson told The Guardian in October.

''He can play lots of different ways, but ultimately he just wants to win. With Bielsa, it's almost the style and the way of playing that's as important, if not more so, than the winning. I admire them both. You have to stand for something. I would hate to be a coach that plays off the cuff, or just tells his team: 'go and play'.

''It scares me to think you could end up with a team that has no identity and plays horrible football. My whole life has been about trying to find a way to win with a certain style.''

Interim All Whites coach Neil Emblen applied for the job, but did not make the shortlist of three.

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Others to apply include high profile British trio Lawrie Sanchez, Iain Dowie and Terry Butcher, former A-League coaches Frank Farina and Gary van Egmond and Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx.

Former All White Ivan Vicelich - who plays under Tribulietx at City - said yesterday he had declined NZF's offer to sit on the selection panel because of a conflict of interest.

Vicelich has told NZF he is keen to be involved should Tribulietx drop out of the race.

All Whites captain Glen Moss said he had not been consulted.

''I've spoken with Embers and obviously he's pretty disappointed,'' Moss said.

''But he hasn't given up on getting a role with New Zealand Football or the head role in the future. If a guy like Neil hasn't made the final three then the final three must be pretty good. We'll leave them to it and we have every faith that they'll select the right person."

- The Dominion Post

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