What will new Aston Villa boss Remi Garde bring to the club?
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 2, 2015
Garde to underline Villa’s French connection?
Remi Garde, who played for Arsenal at the end of his onfield career (1996-99) and coached Lyon for three years (2011-14), has been appointed manager of Aston Villa.
Taking over from the recently sacked Tim Sherwood, what do we know of the Frenchman who is 10/1 with Coral to win Premier League Manager of the Month for November or December?
Appointing a cross-Channel coach with experience of English football is a route the Villans have gone down previously when they gave former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier the job after Martin O’Neill left, but he had to stand down on health grounds after seven months.
Houllier also coached the Kids in his last managerial post before taking up the reins at Villa Park, and picked up trophies at the Stade de Gerland. There are similarities between him and new boss Garde, then.
Method in madness
Villa owner Randy Lerner allowed Sherwood to reinvest the £40m plus generated by the sales of star duo Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph in playing personnel, with signings from French football accounting for the bulk of their summer spending.
Giving Garde the role as head coach appears to reflect the nature of that recruitment drive. Add in fellow new face Rudy Gestede and longer-serving Charles N’Zogbia, and there is a strong French-speaking contingent in their ranks.
Supplemented by British players and other foreigners from further afield, Garde is facing a similar squad dynamic to the one he found as a player at the Gunners under Arsene Wenger. He was reportedly very close to the Arsenal manager during his final years before hanging up his boots.
Hope for homegrown heroes
While it would be wrong to compare Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards to Tony Adams and Martin Keown, the two ex-England internationals should certainly be performing better. A continental coach like Garde, who knows a thing or two about defending himself, will be aiming to coax more from them.
Emerging talent Jack Grealish, who clearly was building a bond with old boss Sherwood before he got the boot, needs to be given space to continue his development. Once Benteke and Delph left, he became their prized asset.
Leading Villa marksman Scott Sinclair’s direct style is reminiscent of Lisandro Lopez, who arguably played his best football under Garde at Lyon. Keeping Aston Villa up, a 13/8 chance, will be shaped by how he can blend British, French and other foreign footballers.
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