After calling time on his career in England, Vincent Kompany is settling down to life in Belgium in his new role as player/manager for his boyhood club Anderlecht. The Manchester City legend has his work cut out for him as he goes about returning the Belgian giant to the summit of the country’s football. On the back of a difficult time last season that culminated in the club missing out on European football for the first time in 56 years, the side must bounce back to winning ways on and off the pitch.
Raided by the police in the course of a money-laundering investigation, the club was later fined and deducted points for its fans’ disturbance during a game. The incident which occured in the match against local rivals Standard Liege led to the abandonment of the game. The team could not recover to challenge for a European place much more the title.
But Kompany is adamant he can turn things around, on the pitch at least. The former City captain counts on his experience playing under Pep Guardiola as valuable education that will serve him well in his new role. Speaking at his first press conference earlier in the week, he made his intentions known.
”In one season we have to get better than five other teams.
”But I am convinced that with a few changes we will succeed.
”I do not want to choose between playing nice football or becoming champions. I want both.
”I know that I put so much pressure on myself. Let’s be very clear, I didn’t come here to be second,” he added.
It remains to be seen how the 33-year-old will fare in his new role. Stepping up from life as a player to one as a manager is not the easiest task to undertake. And for those who do take the plunge, only a handful get to make a mark from the dugout. For every Pep Guardiola who takes his club to the next level, there is Thierry Henry who fails to get the needed results. And for every Zinedine Zidane who makes history at the first attempt, there is Genaro Gattuso who fails to make headway despite all the effort put into the task.
But Kompany claims he is well prepared for the job and is confident of eventual success. Playing under Guardiola could be the difference maker as lessons learned will produce the desired results when diligently applied. Like any good student, he says he is ready for the exam as playing for the Catalan-born manager:
”... was like being at university every day,
”He explained everything with such clarity and I learnt an enormous amount from him.”
”I am no Guardiola by any means. But I think I was a good student,” Kompany concluded.
Talk is cheap and the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Although the City legend has proved his mettle on the pitch as one of the best players ever to play in the Premier League, succeeding as a manager is a different ball game. All the same, the Belgian has all the qualities required to succeed in his new capacity. We wish him the best.