When Luis Aragones was appointed as manager of the Spanish national team, it was something of an awkward choice. Here was a man whose philosophy revolved around a strong defence and a reliance on counter attack who was suddenly being put in charge of one of the finest group of attacking players in the history of the game.
On top of that, Aragones was 66 years old when he was put in charge; surely too old an age for him to change his ways. Even if, in truth, age was not the determining factor here: pride would also have prevented many younger men from making that change.
Change he did, however, slowly adopting the short passing and high pressing game that was bringing Barcelona so much success. He was still very much his own man, dropping a legend like Raul – previously considered an untouchable - in favour of Fernando Torres, who knew what he wanted. But he was intelligent enough to realise that his way wasn’t necessarily the only way.
There is sometimes the misplaced belief that a coach changing his mind is a sign of weakness. People are expected to have a view of how the game should be played and stick to it throughout their whole career. It is, however, a flawed way of seeing things because there is no such thing as a universal truth.
A coach will, for sure, have a favoured way of playing but like any view that should be allowed room to evolve and grow based on what he sees and experiences. It is what Luis Aragones did and it is what set Spain up for a decade of unprecedented domination of world football.
Taken from the most recent issue of Blueprint for Football Extra. To read more articles like this one, subscribe here.