“I’d be excited” Sheffield Wednesday front-runner Danny Rohl ‘sees a challenge he can solve’

The man understood to be the front-runner for the task of turning around Sheffield Wednesday’s Championship fortunes would deliver bold decision-making and freedom for players to express themselves.
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That’s according to a man well-versed in the career to date of German coach Danny Röhl, who as reported by The Star is in talks with the club to become the next Owls manager.

Germany-based Bundesliga expert Jonathan Harding has closely followed much of Röhl’s career as an assistant since emerging from the youth ranks at RB Leipzig and has interviewed the 34-year-old on a number of occasions.

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Ever-increasing influence as an assistant manager at Leipzig, Southampton, Bayern Munich and then Germany saw Röhl take on key roles behind some of Europe’s most highly-rated managers.

And speaking to The Star, Harding believes - should he be confirmed as the new Wednesday boss - that Röhl has all the tools required to become ‘the face of the next generation of young, German coaches’ as Julian Nagelsmann did nearly a decade ago.

We grabbed a few minutes with Harding to get a better idea of the man Wednesday are speaking to.

Röhl is 34 and hasn’t worked as a head coach before. What makes you confident that it could work out for him at S6?

It's always a good sign not only that a coach has worked in different countries, but when he has coached in different situations. At Leipzig he was part of formative approach under Rangnick and delivered a type of football that has changed the way football is played in Germany generally now.

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At Southampton with Hassenhuttl, he got a good taste of English football which means he's not coming in completely blind in that regard. He knows the lay of the land.

In Bayern and with Germany he has got the elite-level experience and the experience of winning things and the pressures of having to win games. At Southampton he had the experience of fighting relegation and further back at Leipzig he worked in youth development.

Although he is young, he has such a wide range of coaching experience. Sure, he doesn't have that head coach experience but he has worked under almost every single coaching situation with different types of head coach.

Speaking to him a fair bit over the last couple of years, it's clear he has consciously always taken steps to try to get closer to the head coach position in every step he's taken.

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When he was coaching at Southampton, he knew the next step would have to be a level up. He did that with Bayern and developed such a strong relationship with Flick that he went to Germany. But he could have stayed with Bayern. There was an offer there from Nagelsmann who was Flick's successor at Bayern.

He has a lot of things that a lot of different coaches like. When both the departing and arriving head coaches at Bayern Munich want you, you've got something.

Why Wednesday? Why not wait for a ‘breezier’ opportunity?

He is enthusiastic about taking on challenges. I think he sees this as a challenge he would relish and I think he values the idea of it being a traditional club with deep roots in football. He's the type of coach that will see it as a challenge he can solve.

He was close to it before (Röhl applied for the job in the summer), so he's had a lot of time to think about it. It's not like he's had a couple of months out of work and is just jumping back in. He is the type of person that wants bold decisions from his players but he certainly wants to take bold decisions himself.

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Some people will say it's a big challenge and frankly from the outside it is, but he loves the idea of developing something. He loves developing players, making them better. And he knows that with a swing of good results he can change the environment and drive things forward, creating positivity. He'll relish the challenge.

What sort of personality would he bring to the role?

He's very analytical. We spoke about the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. I don't think I've ever heard anyone in football talk about a game so analytically but so it was so understandable for a layman. He can get his message across - in English - in such a simple and succinct way.

It was fascinating to see his brain working in such a way. He comes from a very analytical perspective and you see that in his personality.

He's had good practice in press conferences. He did a couple working with Germany during the World Cup and while doing his Pro-License, it's part of the course. You have to deliver a first speech to the locker room, you have to do a number of press conferences.

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His English is good and he obviously worked for a year with Ralph (Hassenhuttl - former Southampton manager). The fact is that working in the national team, you have to speak good English, and you often have to work in English in analysis circles.

What sort of playing style could Wednesday fans expect to see from a Röhl side?

He will definitely has a framework in terms of allowing players to play and make their own decisions. He's not Guardiola-esque in terms of dictating every pass and move, he'll want to create a system where players make their own decisions absolutely.

He wants bold decisions and that speaks for the type of player he'll want to create. I don't have a clear idea on what Wednesday play like, but I imagine there will be quite a noticeable change given how I know he'll want his teams to play.

I imagine a quite aggressive style of play given the background he has. I'm curious to see the change but if I were a Wednesday fan I would be excited. He has quite a strong sense for how he wants to play and has been honing it for quite some time now.

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He’s been waiting for the right opportunity and is ready to move on from the role of a person who addresses things for two minutes at half-time. He's ready to be 'the guy' now. He's ready to be the guy making the decision.

It would be easy to think that because he's come through the German system he would have a coaching style that is so focused on structure and formations. But he's very much about giving players freedom to make decisions and develop individually inside a certain playing philosophy.

I hope it goes well (if he is to be appointed). Honestly, I think he has the potential to become the face of the next generation of young, German coaches. Danny has the chance to be that guy. I hope it proves he can put it into action because he certainly has all the tools.