Xabi Alonso the Manager: What to Expect

Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso, the player, was a neat, tidy passer of the ball that often adapted to different styles throughout his career. And Alonso, the manager, is no different. 

 At Liverpool, when just 22-years-old, he often took an offensive approach from midfield – combining with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. At Real Madrid, he was asked to keep the ball moving, recycling attacks. In the final years of his career at Bayern Munich, he was a deep-lying creator in the number six role.

Now a manager, Alonso combines all of those styles to master his own unique way of thinking- seen implemented at Real Sociedad’s reserves in Segunda B. 

And it is this way of thinking that has earned him the chance to take his first big managerial role at Borussia Monchengladbach, reportedly taking over from Marco Rose in the summer.

Xabi Alonso the Manager Not So Different to the Player

Success With Sociedad

After two seasons in charge of Real Sociedad’s B team, Alonso has them top of Group 2, Group A, in Spain’s third division. In his first season, he finished in a respectable fifth. But this season, he has taken his new side to greater heights, topping the group as a result.

He could have followed in the footsteps of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Andre Pirlo by taking a top job straight away but chose to return home to Sociedad instead. 

Since then, Alonso has quietly improved his tactical nous as a manager- adapting his approach to an attacking, possession-based game. When coaching Real Madrid’s youth side, his first coaching role, Alonso wanted his side to set up in a 4-3-3 and adapt to a 3-2-2-3 when on the ball. 

So, essentially, he would have three defenders, two holding midfielders, two advanced and three forwards to create a modern way of playing. Even from his early days in coaching, he had a clear philosophy that he wanted to develop.

Alonso’s goal as a manager seemed to be to create a side capable of adapting in any situation- similarly to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side.

Bundesliga: The Perfect Environment for Young Managers

Unlike the cut-throat nature of the Premier League, the Bundesliga offers young managers the chance to progress. It is why Jurgen Klopp, Julien Naglesmann and Thomas Tuchel are now thriving on the biggest stage. They were given opportunities to find their style and progress with it.

Xabi Alonso, should he become the next Gladbach manager, will have the same opportunity. He’ll have the perfect squad at his disposal, too. Before the news of Marco Rose’s summer departure emerged, they were firing on all cylinders- competing nearer the top of the Bundesliga.

Since then, they have dramatically fallen off the pace and now find themselves as low as tenth. The point is, however, that there is clearly talent there. It’s just about unlocking it once more- a job Alonso is more than capable of doing.

His presence, alone, should inspire the Gladbach players in a similar way to how Steven Gerrard inspired those at Rangers. Add that to his growing experience as a manager, and Alonso should be more than comfortable in the Bundesliga dugout should he accept the job.

Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images