Van ‘t Schip Committed To Expansive Game

Melbourne Heart Syndicate head coach John van ‘t Schip says he is committed to introducing an expansive brand of football when his team hits the park next season.

Melbourne Heart Syndicate head coach John van ‘t Schip says he is committed to introducing an expansive brand of football when his team hits the park next season.

A former Ajax and Dutch national star, van ‘t Schip spent over two decades plying his trade as both a coach and player in Europe, developing a tactical philosophy reliant on a high possession game driven by an almost telepathic understanding between players.

While Van ‘t Schip acknowledges he may face a challenge in initially introducing his game plan, the 45-year-old said he is prepared to persevere with his approach in order to reap the potential rewards.

“I think the important thing is you always must have something in mind to change if things aren-t going the way you think they should go,” he said.

“However, if you follow a way of playing and thinking, (you need to believe) that if you keep on that path, you will get there, and the only thing is you have to instruct the players and they have to believe in that way of playing.

“I think if you all believe in a way of playing and all think in the same way, it is much easier to get results. But the way to get there may not be that easy in the first period.”

Having played alongside and then under Johan Cruyff at Ajax, van ‘t Schip looks upon the Dutch master as both a mentor and friend, admitting the Barca legend has greatly influenced his football outlook.

“He was very clear in how he thought the game should be played,” he said. “In the beginning, he had it all clear in his head and he wanted it to be in the head of his players also, but that didn-t happen as fast, as quick, as he maybe wanted. But at the final moment we all knew.

“There-s always a certain moment when things come together. In the beginning you are thinking ‘what does he want-, and ‘I don-t understand what he-s talking about-, but then at a certain moment, the puzzle came together and we all thought the same, played the game that he wanted.

“You take that with in the rest of your career; that philosophy, that way of playing so he was a very big inspiration for me.”

However, van ‘t Schip added that Cruyff isn-t his sole influence, saying he gained much from his partnership with Marco van Basten, in addition to his playing stint under Louis van Gaal.

“Marco and I learned a lot from each other. I was more experienced than Marco when I invited him to come and help me and be my assistant, then after two years we changed the roles, I became his assistant and we went on to the national team.

“I think Marco learned much of his philosophy from Cruyff, but also from his period in Italy with (Arrigo) Sacchi and (Fabio) Capello at Milan. And I had a good year with Van Gaal when we won the UEFA Cup, so we had the fortune to work under (other) great coaches as well.

“We were then able to put all these things together and integrate different pieces when we were coaching at Ajax and with the national team.”