Ange Postecoglou had always hinted that he might leave his post as Australia manager regardless of whether or not they beat Honduras in this month’s crucial World Cup play-off.
But after Mile Jedinak’s hat-trick secured The Socceroos’ place on a plane to Russia, the coach’s decision to suddenly step down has still come as a surprise. Not least to the Australia players who have achieved so much during Postecoglou’s four-year spell in charge.
The Greek-born coach led Australia to successive World Cups and, in between, guided them to success in the 2015 Asian Cup – the first major honour in the nation’s footballing history.
And while Postecoglou didn’t always win over the critics or some members of the support, he will be remembered fondly by his team.
Thank you Ange for the belief and opportunity you gave me to represent my country To play in a World Cup and to win the Asian cup on home soil is something I will cherish and never forget! You always believed in us! I wish you and your family all the very best for the future— Jason Davidson (@jasondavidson29) November 21, 2017
Congratulations to Ange on a successful 4 years as @Socceroos coach. Making a huge impact on and off the pitch for Australian football. Also - Two World Cups and an Asian Cup ! Thanks for giving us players the hope and belief of playing for Australia— Ryan Edwards (@redwards_17) November 21, 2017
Just want to say thanks to Ange for everything he has done for football in Australia and me personally. He gave me my shot with the national team and I can never forget that. The belief and confidence he’s instilled in this team that will keep us on the path to great things. pic.twitter.com/p99kzKXuRL— Trent Sainsbury (@Tsainsbury92) November 21, 2017
Thanks to Ange for giving me my opportunity to do the thing I've always wanted to do and represent my country, also the way he has changed the way people look at Australians playing football. I wish him all the best in the next chapter in his life pic.twitter.com/PrLtTgjYRv— brad smith (@bradsmith_94) November 21, 2017
Want to say a massive thank you to Ange Postecoglou. The last four years have been amazing and… https://t.co/T8J3o9OHT4— TIM CAHILL (@Tim_Cahill) November 22, 2017
The topic now, however, must turn to what Postecoglou will do next. ESPN reported recently that the former Brisbane Roar coach, who presided over the longest unbeaten run in A-League history, was interested in the vacant managerial role at Rangers.
And while Postecoglou was coy when asked about taking over at Ibrox prior to the first-leg clash with Honduras, you wonder whether his decision to leave the nation on the verge of a World Cup is because he has his heart set on a new job elsewhere.
With Derek McInnes and Michael O’Neill looking less and less likely to take the Rangers role, the Scottish giants may have to think outside the box – meaning Postecoglou’s new-found availability could give them food for thought.
One plus point in Postecoglou’s favour – he certainly seems to enjoy a better bond with his players than Pedro Caixinha ever did.