Despite tough group stage opponents, England national team coach John Herdman is ready for the challenges ahead.
“I feel like for the first time in a long time I’m where I want to be as a coach,” he said.
“With the team, I think we can compete equally with our rivals and we will play above average and be successful,” added the 47-year-old.
The Englishwoman led the New Zealand women’s national team in the past (2006-11), then became the coach of the Canadian women’s team (2011-18). He has been the head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Team since 2018.
Despite his extensive experience with national teams, Herdman is looking forward to a new challenge as this will be his first World Cup as head coach of the men’s national team.
“I still can’t believe it’s going to happen anytime soon.” Such feelings are with me, even here in Doha. This will be my first world championship as a men’s coach and my fifth. It’s an incredible rollercoaster of emotions – he admitted.
Herdman grew up dreaming of a football career. His physical predisposition made it difficult for him, as he is quite small. However, the Englishman did not lose his passion for football and got a coaching license. This led him to the Sunderland club academy where he faced an unpleasant experience.
“A former England player came up to me and said ‘you’re a great manager but you’re not going to get to the top because you’ve never experienced what it’s like to be at the center of the game’. watch out in front of 50,000 fans,'” Herdman told Sportsnet.
Later, he took another course and then went to New Zealand, where his streak of success began – he first managed the national under-20 team, then he became the coach – leader of the women’s national team.
His results impressed Canadian football authorities so much that they decided to hire him as coach of the women’s team, then took over as head of the men’s national team.
“I don’t think the country ever believed in us because the national team never provided a reason not to.” I hope they believe in us now,” Herdman concluded.
Canada’s first match will be against Belgium on Wednesday.
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