Gill Swerts, new U21 coach: “It was a huge surprise for me”

Gill Swerts, new U21 coach: “It was a huge surprise for me”

Gill Swerts appeared for the first time in front of the press, in a reduced committee, after Domenico Tedesco revealed his selection this Friday. The new Espoirs coach was starting to take his marks little by little.

Gill Swerts (40 years old), coach of the Belgian Hopes. No one would have bet on that when Jacky Mathijssen was fired after Euro U21. It seemed almost certain to many that Thomas Vermaelen would be the lucky one. Swerts himself would never have thought of it, as he explained to us in Tubize.

“I was very surprised, of course. I was 100% focused on preparing for the season with the Antwerp U23s and I had to make a quick decision,” concedes the new Devils coach. “I saw my name mentioned in the press and it was a total surprise because I didn’t apply. But I’m happy with this new challenge”.

Arthur Vermeeren and others

Swerts did not have much time to put his “paw” on the selection that will face Kazakhstan on September 11. “There was already a large group of nearly 40 players, brought together by a whole staff, scouts. Franky Vercauteren also helped,” he explains.

Vermeer Arthur
© photonews

“Part of the core who played the Euro U21 is still there, and we have added young talents. My role will be to make them grow. I know a lot of them, especially young people playing in Belgium”. The name he knows best is of course Arthur Vermeeren, nugget from Antwerp. “I know him very well but he’s not the only one,” smiles Gill Swerts.

Congratulations from Vermaelen and Vertonghen

It will now be a question of making this new generation grow after the bitter failure of the Euro Espoirs. “I have been working with young people for years now. I am a young coach myself, which is also an advantage in understanding these young people. I know the qualities of my core, and my game aims to be based on possession. “, says Swerts.

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With an example in mind? “As a young coach, you take a bit of everything you have known during your playing career,” said the Espoirs coach. “The coach who has marked me the most is of course Louis Van Gaal. We have not yet been in contact since my appointment, no. On the other hand, I have received congratulations from former team-mates like Dembélé, Vermaelen, Vertonghen “.

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