If it's good enough for Germany, it's good enough for Bantams argues owner

IF YOU are good enough, then you are old enough.

Bradford City's Edin Rahic: Happy with appointments.

Judging by his decision to hand the head coaching reins at Bradford City to a rookie pairing in thirty-somethings Michael Collins and Martin Drury – albeit with an ‘old head’ alongside them to assist in Greg Abbott – that is clearly the fervent belief of Valley Parade co-owner Edin Rahic.

At 32, former Bantams Under-18s coach Collins is now the youngest manager/head coach in the EFL, with ex-lead development coach and Bradford Park Avenue chief Drury being the same age; he is, in fact, just 20 days older than Collins, with both born in April 1986.

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To most observers, it constitutes the boldest of calls to promote the young home-grown pair, but Rahic has stressed that his view that age will prove no barrier in the club’s pursuit of success.

Futhermore, the City chairman has cited empirical evidence from the coaching landscape in his native Germany to forcibly illustrate that point.

The statistics from last season’s Bundesliga bear this out in a footballing nation which seems to not just trust young coaches and managers, but positively advocate it.

Five managers in their thirties coached in Germany’s top-flight last term, including acclaimed Schalke chief Dominico Tedesco, who was appointed as manager of the Ruhr giants at the age of 31 last summer and led them to a second-placed finish in 2017-18.

Appointed after only managing Bundesliga 2 minnows Ezgebirge Aue for 11 matches during the 2016-17 season, Tedesco is now rated as the joint top young manager in the Bundesliga.

Bradford City's new head coach Michael Collins, centre, with Greg Abbott, left, and Martin Drury, right.

He shares this status alongside Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann, 30, who also enjoyed a campaign of outstanding success last term.

Other thirtysomethings managing in the top tier include Augsburg’s Manuel Baum, Werder Bremen’s Florian Kohfeldt and Sandro Schwarz of Mainz, with Rahic hoping that the flower of youth can also now blossom to positive effect at City.

Rahic said: “In Germany, Schalke are second with a coach who started at 30. They are in the Champions League now.

“Third (last season) were Hoffenheim, who are also in the Champions League. Nagelsmann started at 28 or 29.

“It is not about the age, but the knowledge about football. The circumstances are so important and if we trust each other and have the same understanding, if we bring it all together and get this bonding, then I think we have a massive chance.”

Just as the notion of giving young, homegrown managers and coaches a chance is becoming increasingly fashionable in Germany, so Rahic feels that domestic trend can take off in England while also believing that the notion of promoting from within is both a sound and responsible one.

The benefits of continuity in both Collins and Drury both knowing the working environment at the club and players they are working with on a daily basis represents another important factor, according to Rahic, alongside their ‘local’ knowledge.

The first-team squad members who reconvene in pre-season training on June 28 will include a senior defender in Matt Kilgallon who is a couple of years older than Collins and Drury at 34, with captain Romain Vincelot being the same age, while Nathaniel Knight-Percival is 31.

But Rahic does not see any issues whatsoever – only plus points.

“It is massive because they (Collins and Drury) are Yorkshire lads. They know the club and they are proud to be here,” he added.

“They know the circumstances unlike a German coach who say does not speak English. They know the players and that is a massive benefit.

“They also have never applied for the job. They showed me how they saw a chance, but never forced it.”