London, Sep 27 (IANS) Fourteen years after leaving Manchester United, legendary Dutch defender Jaap Stam is ready to return to the English Premier League (EPL) in his new avatar as a manager.
Stam won three EPL titles during his 1998-2001 stint with Manchester United as well as the Champions League and the FA Cup before then manager Alex Ferguson sent shockwaves around the football world by selling him to Lazio for 15 million pounds.
The 43-year-old is currently working as a the reserve team coach with Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam and was bitten by the EPL bug again during a recent visit to see compatriot Ronald Koeman go about his duties as Southampton manager.
“Coming back to England and seeing Ronald at Southampton has really opened my heart again. It was wonderful to be back in England — all my fantastic memories came flooding back to me.
“Football in England is booming. The Premier League is the best league in the world and the facilities for coaches and managers are fantastic,” Stam was quoted as saying by the local media on Sunday.
“As soon as I get the opportunity to work in England, I will go for it.”
Stam, who admitted to being impressed with the improvement in the training facilities in England, knows that he still has to prove himself as a coach at the highest level.
“I remember playing at The Dell when we travelled to Southampton. Now they have a brand new stadium. I also saw their training complex, and it is out of this world,” the former central defender said.
“There has been some interest already, but that’s all I can say. Of course, I still have to prove myself at the top level,” he added. “Not every great player becomes a great coach.”
He admitted that seeing managers like Sir Alex Ferguson lose their temper did initially put him off going into coaching.
“I never thought I would become a football manager. There were times in my playing career when I thought managers were going berserk over nothing and I could not see myself ever getting so worked up,” Stam said.
“I remember standing there and looking at them, thinking to myself ‘man, behave. What are you getting worked up about?’ It made me think that I never wanted to have a job like that. But after retiring, coaching did appeal to me,” he added.
“And now I am ready to get a job with a club on my own.”