Danny Röhl will not fall into Sheffield Wednesday mistake that cost Xisco dearly
Danny Röhl is a man clear in communication and in his convictions - and he's a man that appears to have been given a great deal of faith at Sheffield Wednesday.
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The German coach is young in years but great in experience, working at a number of levels including those at the very, very top of club and international football. He has a vast buy-in of Owls supporters acutely aware of the magnitude of the job at hand in these early days of his management.
That h is involved in the selection of a new head of recruitment at S6 shows an eye on continuity at the club and perhaps a stretch towards a longer-term ideal. Whoever comes in may well prove to outlast Röhl - such is the reality of modern football management previous incumbent David Downes worked alongside four different permanent Owls bosses - but the need for whoever he may be to match his football philosophy speaks something for where Wednesday intend to go.
It is football philosophies that he has spoken about a number of times in his short time with the club that he is married to; he calls them his 'non-negotiables'. They can be tweaked and nurtured towards different oppositions and requirement - there's evidence of this already seen in his five matches - but he demands high intensity, pressing and movement on the ball. From these non-negotiables an identity will be delivered, he hopes.
Some themes aren't dissimilar to those spoken about by Röhl's predecessor Xisco, who it was felt by some within the camp was hamstrung partly by a late start to the conditioning work required in pre-season and by late recruitment. Management and players have spoken about the work required to top-up their conditioning to rise to the intensity required by Röhl. The catch-up game continues.
The impression is that what Röhl won't fall into is the vast compromising of principles Wednesday fans saw under Xisco. With results swirling downwards and pressure from the outside suggesting a revert to the more pragmatic playing style of Darren Moore, the Spaniard seemingly shifted to a more direct with every passing game, culminating in a final defeat at West Brom that presented as all-out aerial assault. Results of course, in the end, told.
The shift in approach came across confusing and too much of a compromise. In building the sort of identity both managers spoke about, it fell some way short even in such a short time in the Hillsborough hotseat. Röhl, a meticulous analyser and thinker, seems committed to his plan and with signs of commitment coming from above will continue setting about implementing it.
"It’s more about principles than formation," Röhl said at his Wednesday unveiling with themes he has touched upon since. "We can play with a five, with a four, but the principles are non-negotiable.
"We need to be compact, we need to win the ball high, we need to push the opponent away from our goal, and make sure we attack at the right moments. These are some things."