Early arrivals give Wagner confidence for Huddersfield Town’s upcoming challenges

Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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DO NOT expect David Wagner to be losing any sleep whatsoever regarding the accusation from the doubters that Huddersfield Town’s plethora of new recruits lack Premier League experience.

Statistically, it may well be true and of the club’s nine summer signings so far, only Tom Ince has experience of the top-flight and, even then, of the fleeting variety.

But Wagner has been here before, including last year when he bought in the likes of Christopher Schindler, Elias Kachunga, Michael Hefele and Chris Low, all of whom had no ‘previous’ in terms of the Championship and went on to prosper in seamless fashion.

Even accouting for the considerable step-up to the Premier League, Wagner – typically – exudes calm and retains confidence that the club’s signings will be able to handle the step-up.

Alongside many in his existing squad too.

Wagner, who completed the signing of FC Copenhagen defender Mathias Jorgensen yesterday – the club’s sixth capture in a frenetic week of activity – said: “When I identify targets, it does not have to be a player with Premier League experience. Absolutely not.

“It is important, but not one of the key points if I like to sign him.

“To be fair, often in pre-season, there is a surprising player in your (existing) squad too, maybe one or two, who you would think it would be difficult for, before pre-season.

“But if they perform very strongly, I am open for every other player to show us their best.”

To ease the acclimatisation process of those newcomers ahead of the major challenges in store, Wagner has shrewdly identified that bringing in signings at the earliest juncture and giving them plenty of time to bond and assimilate with their team-mates is inherently logical.

NEW FACE: Tom Ince arrived from Derby County earlier this sweek. Picture: PA.

NEW FACE: Tom Ince arrived from Derby County earlier this sweek. Picture: PA.

For the German, character will be every bit as important as talent over the nine-month Premier League marathon for his players, which will represent the ultimate mental, physical and tactical examination.

After his team passed with flying colours on that count last term, observing the group’s development will be similarly fascinating in 2017-18.

On the importance of making early signings, Wagner added: “Yes of course, this is always my aim. But it is the aim of every manager as pre-season is crucial for the whole team and dressing room. We need to bound the characters together.

“To identify the talent is very easy. You watch the clips and full matches and I think everybody in this business is good enough to identify some quality of how players are on the pitch.

The most difficult thing for me is to identify the right characters for your club and your philosophy, dressing room and for you as a manager – who has to work with them, day in, day out.

Huddersfield Town’s coach, David Wagner.

“But the most difficult thing for me is to identify the right characters for your club and your philosophy, dressing room and for you as a manager – who has to work with them, day in, day out.

“We have made some very good decisions in the past and hopefully will do in the future.

“From my point of view, Identifying the right character of a player is as important as identifying the sport side of him.”