New West Ham Women boss Harder wants to bring best ideas from various countries to his team
- Credit: West Ham United
Newly-appointed West Ham Women manager Olli Harder believes he has been able to cherry pick the best ideas he has picked up from many different countries he has coached in and is now hoping to stamp his mark on the team.
The New Zealander was confirmed as the new manager over the festive break and took his first training session this week.
The 34-year-old has plenty of coaching under his belt with jobs in the men’s and women’s game, as well as experience of the collegiate system.
He has coached in many different countries including New Zealand, England, the USA, China and Norway and feels he has picked up a bundle of knowledge.
“I’ve been brought in to be myself and bring my own philosophy to it. Coaching in a lot of different countries means I've had the opportunity to cherry pick what I prefer from each country, and every country offers something a little bit different.
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“Ultimately for me, long-term it’s about putting my own stamp on the team, and in the short term it’s about understanding and being practical.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but certainly being myself is going to be important.
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“The physicality of the league itself is something that is quite unique in women’s football. In my experience, only the US matches England when it comes to physicality and I think the big difference at the moment is, technically and tactically we’re still catching up.”
Harder, who has been coaching in Norway for the past five years, revealed the reasons why he was keen to join the Hammers and believes the Women’s Super League will be the best in the world in years to come.
“I think everybody is realising where the league is going. America has always been the flagship for the women’s game, but I really feel that England over the next year, two or even three years, will take over as the biggest league in the world when it comes to the women’s game.
“From that side of things it really appealed and of course West Ham are a massive club, someone that I have supported before, and you can’t say no when West Ham calls you. So here I am.
“I had to jump through the same hoops as everybody else, I'm just the lucky one to be sitting here at the end.”
West Ham currently sit one spot above the relegation zone after a slow start to the campaign and Harder knows the immediate challenges that he faces.
“I think the biggest challenge is that coming in mid-season you’re obviously coming into a situation that was created through no fault of your own.
"It’s an opportunity for me to come in so I'm thankful for that but there is a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of shifting the culture and playing style. Nothing negative towards the previous coaching staff, more as in for me to implement my own ideas."
He added: “First off it’s about being practical. We’re in a position in the table which is not comfortable for us and we wish to be a lot higher up.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we need to make sure winning is a priority for us, and develop of our own sense of who we are as West Ham.”