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Jens Lehmann says he wants to progress from his coaching role to become an assistant manager, and explained how he got his current job at Arsenal.
Far from the Gunners recruiting their former goalkeeper, Lehmann told Sport Bild that it was more the other way around. He explained: “I first got in touch with Arsène Wenger, whom I played under for 6 years, in April 2017.
“I knew he had to change some things at Arsenal, so I spoke to him about it. He listened to my wishes over the phone and said, “I’m interested.” I know him well enough to have known: that’ll do!
“I’m very grateful to Arsene Wenger. As a former player it’s not easy to start anywhere today. The trend in Germany is to appoint coaches nobody actually knows because they didn’t play themselves. When that’s how things work, it’s not possible to start as an assistant coach.”
The 48-year-old didn’t make any secret of the fact that he wants to be more than just a coach. He said: “Being an assistant is good for me, I can learn the structure, methodology, and implementation of the job from the second row. But, naturally, becoming a manager is the goal. Some things you learn best by doing them yourself.”
A managerial role at Arsenal is probably still some way off, for now. For a start, Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Plus, I stand by my belief that the Gunners will look at someone experienced to replace the 68-year-old. They won’t want to take any risks for whoever has to replace the club’s longest serving manager.
For now, Lehmann has to be content with learning and improving his coaching skills. He certainly has more than enough on his plate, considering the size of the club. He talked about how he’s finding the job, nine months in, admitting: “I’ve never worked so long and so hard in my life.
“At first, I watched training. At some point he (Wenger) came up to me and said: “Jens, I’ve also brought you here to actively coach, as you’ve done before.” Since then I’ve been very involved in training sessions. Sometimes your position makes a difference. I’m no longer in goal, but on the sidelines, so I need to be more diplomatic.”
This last year hasn’t been the best one in Arsenal’s history, so I’d imagine things have been pretty stressful. Hopefully that should be a good learning experience though, and Lehmann will come out the other side a better coach.