National football team gets British coach

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New national assistant coach Dylan Kerr is tasked with whipping the men's national football squad into shape

New national football assistant coach Dylan Kerr appears set to help meet head coach Phan Thanh Hung's demand that his men's team get into better shape.

"I want the strength of the players to be maximized. Only then can they display their best possible skills," said Hung.

Kerr, 45, has made a good impression so far.

After finishing a morning training session recently, the players were given a series of extra exercises to perform, rather than enjoying the free time they usually have at the end of practice.

Though the exercises were simple and did not require a lot of physical energy, not a few players made faces and called the drills strange, complaining that they hadn't had time for a rest.

Kerr is also known for observing coach Hung's training sessions intently, setting up equipment and fulfilling other tasks that aren't in his job description.

Coach Hoang Anh Tuan of V-League team Khatoco Khanh Hoa (where Kerr is currently a coach) had told the media of Kerr's friendliness, and he has not disappointed since being thrust onto the national stage.

When asked why he chose Vietnam when he had a good job in South Africa, Kerr said his club in South Africa had problems and Vietnam had been welcoming.

 "Of course, I actually did not know much about Vietnamese football before I came here. The language barrier caused a lot of difficulty. But I adapted pretty fast because of the enthusiastic support from Khatoco Khanh Hoa," said Kerr.

He said that being invited to work as an assistant coach of the national team only nine months after coming to Vietnam was like a dream come true.

EXPERIENCED HAND

Dylan Kerr played professional football for several British clubs including Sheffield Wednesday (1984-1988), Leeds United (1989-1993), Blackpool (1991), Reading (1993-1998). In 2003, Kerr retired from playing to work as a coach. In 2009, he became an assistant coach for Mpumalanga Black Aces (South Africa) before coming to Vietnam late last year. Kerr said former players like Eric Cantona, Kevin Keegan and Gary Lineker were his football idols. David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes are all good examples for young players to follow he said. Kerr also said he does not have much money, but he has won a lot of football games. He said his years working for several football teams have given him the experience needed to understand players' strengths and weaknesses and design effective training programs for them. 

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