Emile Heskey believes Ange Postecoglou can bring a “Dutch philosophy” to Celtic with his possession-based football and uncompromising personality standing the Yokahoma F Marinos manager in good stead should he join the Glasgow giants.
He may have been born in Greece and made in Australia, but Postecoglou is a man steeped in Dutch tradition.
The 55-year-old is an avid reader of the Johan Cruyff bible, his own version of ‘total voetbal’ based around a whirling carousel of interlocking movement, probing possession and a stubborn refusal to ‘get rid’ even when subjected to the most intense pressure.
When Manchester City met Yokahoma FC Marinos in a pre-season clash, perhaps the most iconic of Cruyff’s disciples couldn’t contain himself when quizzed about the sort of football Postecoglou had instilled into a limited bunch.
“Yokohama played some incredible football and were an incredible test for us,” Pep Guardiola said in 2019, via the World Game.
“I knew how good they were – and it was tough for us.”
Tom Rogic, the Celtic playmaker who worked with Postecoglou during his three years in charge of the Australia national team, went as far as to claim the Athens-born tactician shares traits with a certain Brendan Rodgers.
And former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes the Aussie’s forward-thinking style should make him a popular figure at Parkhead, having come up against Postecoglou during his time at A-League outfit Newcastle Jets.
“When I was in Australia, (Postecoglou) was coaching over there. (Coaches in Oz) are very much possession-based, followers of the Dutch philosophy, so everything is playing out from the back. You never kick the ball long, you play between the lines,” Heskey explains.
“That’s the way (Postecoglou) is going to encourage his teams to play.
“He did very well in Australia and he could possibly do well at Celtic. It’s going to be different – with the aggressiveness of Scottish football sometimes you might have to kick it long and play a little bit differently.
“But his whole game is based on the Dutch philosophy – passing and moving and playing out from the back.”
Postecoglou’s confident, somewhat brunt and abrasive personality, means he’s unlikely to be overawed at a club of Celtic’s size and stature either.
“I don’t think there’s any Aussie who doesn’t speak their mind to be honest with you!” Heskey adds.
“When you’re in such a big club, you need to have a big presence.
“Celtic is huge – this is the thing people forget at times. So you do need to be a big influence and have a big presence when you’re going into a huge, huge club.”