Ronald Koeman discusses "fantastic" new role at Southampton

St Marys Southampton

Ronald Koeman has spoken of the "fantastic feeling" of becoming Southampton manager, replacing Mauricio Pochettino.

New Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has expressed his delight at becoming the new manager of Southampton Football Club, as well as highlighting his happiness to be entering his new club with elder brother Erwin Koeman.

Ronald, 51, joins Southampton having managed Eredivisie side Feyenoord to a 2nd place finish last season, securing Champions League football for the club in the 2014/15 season.

He is joined at St. Mary's by elder brother Erwin, 52, and first team coach/physical coach Jan Kluitenberg, also 51, with whom he worked alongside at both Feyenoord and Benfica.

Speaking to www.saintsfc.co.uk, Ronald expressed his joy at taking the helm of the Premier League club: "It's a fantastic feeling," he said. "I said one day to myself that if I get one opportunity to manage in England then I would like to do that."

"You can’t plan your career as a manager – sometimes you get possibilities and sometimes not, and this possibility to become the new manager of Southampton was an important step forward for me as a coach and I like it very much."

Koeman also highlighted the importance of Les Reed, Executive Director of Southampton, in persuading him that joining the Saints was the right move for him, although he admits that it did not take much time for him to spot the potential in the club, who finished 8th in last season's Premier League campaign.

"After the first day that I met Les Reed and we spoke about this possibility, I was happy and I was impressed about the philosophy of the club and I’m very happy to be the new manager of the Saints.

“From the first moment of contact with the club, the chairman and Les Reed, there was a very good strength of open communication and I like that, which made it more easy to come to Southampton.”

Koeman is widely expected to continue with his philosophy of attacking football, utilising young players and coaching his team to improve them, rather than simply revert to the transfer market. In many respects, Koeman appears to share many of the ideals of previous manager Mauricio Pochettino, with the added experience of winning silverware in Holland, Portugal and Spain.

The former Barcelona and Holland legend admitted that he is all too aware of Southampton's footballing heritage, and their reputation for developing youth players, something he is keen to involve himself in.

"The first meeting was talking about football and what was most important was the philosophy of the club. I knew a lot about Southampton because over in Holland we know that the youth academy of Southampton is very famous.

"It’s a little bit like Holland – they give opportunities to young players and that’s important for Southampton FC, to give young players a chance in the first team."

The Dutchman also underlined his pride and happiness in being joined at his new club by brother Erwin, after the two brothers pledged to work together after the death of father Martin Koeman in late 2013.

"It’s very special. Often we’ve spoken about the opportunity if I get the possibility to be the coach outside of Holland. We talked about it."

"Erwin has a lot of experience as a coach – he has been a second coach with  Hiddink at PSV. My approach and my brother’s is different and who else than your brother can you be confident in? I think it’s also special for the Koeman family because it’s not often that two brothers are working in the same staff at a football club."

Koeman's first involvement with the playing staff at Southampton will come in two weeks' time, when the squad reconvene for pre-season training at the club's leafy Staplewood training base, home to a new £30m complex due to open on July the 1st.

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