What next for the Socceroos and their now former coach Ange Postecoglou?

Colin Millar by Colin Millar / 23 November 2017, 08:42

Just six days after leading Australia to their fourth consecutive World Cup finals, Ange Postecoglou confirmed he was leaving his post on the national team with immediate effect.

The Greek-born manager enjoyed a successful four-year stint, qualifying for both World Cups on offer and also leading his side to the Asian Cup in 2015 - the nation’s first ever major trophy outside of Oceania.

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Postecoglou lamented the job ‘taking its toll’ on him on a personal level, but also confirmed his intentions to re-enter club management as soon as possible. He has not previously managed at the top level, having coached Greek side Panachaiki in 2008 and also taking the reins at South Melbourne, Brisbane Roar and then Melbourne Victory ‘Down Under’. Despite being relatively unknown outside of those shores, he has a track record of success - with six separate Championship titles to his name.

His departure from the Socceroos has seen him linked with the vacant managerial position at Glasgow Rangers, although whether the club will take a risk similar to the Pedro Caixinha gamble should be met with scepticism. The 52-year-old left the Australian national team due to the pressure associated with the role, but the phrase ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ seems relevant if he were to move to Ibrox.

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Former full-back Graeme Murty is in charge of the Rangers first team at present, but it is unlikely that he will be given the role on a permanent basis and the list of alternatives is less than exciting for the blue half of Glasgow.

Former boss Alex McLeish is among the favourites, while outstanding candidate Derek McInnes appears unlikely to leave Aberdeen. Frank De Boer - a former Rangers player - is perhaps the most notable leading candidate, but may prove outside of the club’s wage structure.

Though what is clear is Postecoglou has a track record of success. For two decades he was among the most successful managers in Australia while his success for the national side was unprecedented yet was achieved with a group of players who were less than vintage. Indeed, many Aussies believed World Cup qualification would be beyond their current squad, yet ultimately they scrapped their way through playoffs against Syria and Honduras to reach Russia next year.

Whilst Postecoglou’s career appears to now be at a crossroads, the Socceroos will now be desperate to instil a coach in good time to make full plans and preparations for next summer. The clear early favourite is Graham Arnold, who won 54 caps for his nation - netting 19 times - before taking temporary charge after the 2006 World Cup.

Arnold enjoyed just shy of four years with Central Coast Mariners before an ill-judged move to Japanese club Vegalta Sendai, which lasted a mere six matches, before an appointment at Sydney FC in 2014, where he has been instilled ever since and is rated as the best manager currently in the A-League.

Hiddink - whom Arnold formerly assisted - is also linked with a return to the post, having been out of work since his departure from Stamford Bridge in 2016. At 71 years of age, this could be construed as his last shot at top-level management and would see him involved at his third World Cup as a manager, having coached South Korea in their remarkable 2002 tournament before leading the Socceroos four years later. A fan favourite, the Dutchman would certainly prove a popular appointment.

There have been speculative links with a move for another former Chelsea boss - Carlo Ancelotti, although again this would appear to be a massive financial commitment and it is unclear if the Italian would fancy a move. Alen Stajcic - coach of the nation’s Matildas woman’s team - is also said to be an outside candidate while Kevin Muscat, who has been in charge of Melbourne Victory for the past four years, is another possibility for a local appointment.

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