My dream - Steffen
Steffen Freund is back at Spurs as Assistant Head Coach and admits: "That was always my dream."
So popular with the fans during his playing days at the club between 1999-2003 and a Hall of Fame inductee, Steffen's return was announced last week.
His appointment completes Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas’ coaching team, alongside First Team Fitness Coach Jose Mario Rocha, Head of Opposition Scouting Daniel Sousa, First Team Coach Luis Martins and Goalkeeping coach Tony Parks.
Welcome back to Spurs, Steffen. We all remember you from your playing days, you love the club and so to return must be a dream for you.
Steffen Freund: "Exactly. That’s what I said to the German people around me, my friends. I said that’s my dream, to one day come back to Spurs. Four years ago I did my Pro License, worked for four years for the DFB (German FA), three years with the Under-17s and we were successful, a really nice time. Of course, it’s a good job, but when Daniel Levy and Andre Villas-Boas call, you have to ask to release the contract and move to Spurs. That’s what happened, all in two weeks! My family is still on holiday and I’m back to work!"
So when the call came, you couldn’t say no?
Steffen: "Of course, I couldn’t say no. We spoke about my role and my situation and Andre’s philosophy. I know all about the philosophy of Spurs, everything is the same. The philosophy of the youth teams in Germany is exactly the same as at Spurs - play well, be strong with the ball, dominate games and be strong and solid without the ball. In three hours, we spoke about the future together. I was on holiday with my family and the next day, Andre called me and said ‘I would like you here at Spurs’. Then everything changed. I called the German FA, spoke to everyone there, I was always honest, I will do the same here at Spurs. I spoke to Wolfgang Niersbach (president), I know him very well and Helmut Sandrock, the general secretary, face-to-face, to ask if it was possible to move to Spurs and they said no problem. I cancelled my contract on Wednesday and signed for Spurs. The plane was late on Thursday, a long day, but then back on the field with Spurs. I feel happy."
How did it feel to be back out at Spurs Lodge? Of course, we soon move to our new Training Centre, but how did it feel to be back out there with the players?
Steffen: "It was a special feeling. It will take me one or two days and I will know everyone. It’s hard work for me now. We’ll soon move to the new Academy (training centre) and I’ve heard that’s one of the best in Europe, maybe the best, so I can’t wait for that. To work with the young players as well. My role here is to work for Andre and the first team, but still I like to see the youth teams, to know what’s going on. We’re all together at the Academy and I can’t wait for that. It was an exciting day, not easy for me, a little nervous, but I have more experience now and I think I can handle it."
We know you love the club and you’ve watched us from afar, the club has stepped up and up and up in recent years. You are back at a good time.
Steffen: "Yes, and it was also a good time for me (when he joined) in 1999. We won the League Cup straight away, close to Wembley again in the FA Cup, I had George Graham, Glenn Hoddle as coaches and learned a lot about the club, about England and that helps me now to adapt quickly. I know the game. Last season I was an expert (a TV pundit) in Germany and watched the Premier League, I know the players from watching games, know the quality of the players and of course, the next few weeks will help me learn more. I’m sure I can help every player and the club to improve. I can’t say we will improve straight away in the table and that’s not my job at the moment, that’s up to Andre and Daniel to think about what is possible, but I can help because I know the club."
Finally, you must be looking forward to stepping out at White Hart Lane again.
Steffen: "Don’t even ask me! That will be a special day again. That was my living room, from 1999 to 2003. I came back a few times. I’m in the Hall of Fame of this fantastic club and now I’m back in a different role, as coach. That was my dream when I started my B License five, six years ago. Now is the day to come back and I can’t wait."