Edgar Davids joins Barnet

Former Ajax, Juventus and Barcelona midfielder Edgar Davids has taken up a coaching role with Barnet.

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Edgar Davids: Barnet role

Edgar Davids: Barnet role

Edgar Davids has declared he had joined Barnet to help save English football, as well as to set off on his own managerial career.

Former Holland star Davids stunned the sport on Thursday night when he announced he had agreed to become joint head coach of the Football League's bottom club.

Bees fans were still pinching themselves on Friday afternoon when the 39-year-old was officially unveiled as player-manager alongside fellow boss Mark Robson, with the pair insisting they could work together.

Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous approached Davids last month, inviting him to visit the club's state-of-the-art training ground - which is on the former Tottenham midfielder's doorstep - and eventually offering him a job.

Former Ajax, Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan midfielder Davids had previously been in charge of Sunday league team Brixton United and kept fit by playing street soccer since leaving Crystal Palace two years ago.

He said: "When I look at the English team and I see them play, I'm not a great fan.

"I know they have talent but it's not developing right now. It needs a lot of work.

"I played for Barcelona, for Ajax, where it's important to develop and integrate young talent.

"In this country, they need to think about that. Invest in youth.

"I played street soccer, that's where I started. If you look at South America, that's why they have technical players."

Davids claimed he had snubbed lucrative offers to play in the Middle East and Asia, adding: "I am trying to help English football be more diverse."

The Dutchman, who is currently studying for his A licence, had no problem starting his managerial career at the very bottom.

"Marco van Basten did it at an amateur level and there are a lot of coaches that started low," he said, revealing he had won two cups with Brixton, although he forgot what they were called.

"We will see if I have the capabilities of reaching the highest level. Do I want that?

"I saw [Pep] Guardiola and [Frank] Rijkaard when they started and saw them age with grey hair.

"I'm too good looking for that so want to stay here."

Despite admitting he had "always been an outsider", Davids insisted he could forge a working relationship with Robson, who was only appointed this summer but has yet to taste victory, with Barnet already five points adrift at the foot of npower League Two.

Cynics will say the club will eventually sack Robson, leaving Davids in sole charge.

Davids said: "We could have already done that. So why wait?

"I believe Mark and I can pull it off. We will have some fights but the bottom line is to fight to get results."

Director of football Paul Fairclough, who insisted Barnet did not break the bank to sign Davids, added: "There are cynics in football.

"Ninety-nine per cent of football clubs would have sacked their head coach by now but we have faith in Mark and feel he is a perfect fit for the club.

"It's a job for life for Mark with his ability as he is a highly qualified technical coach."

Davids admitted he would also like to own a club one day but, for now, was focused on helping Barnet avoid relegation both on and off the pitch.

He said of League Two: "I saw it's quite physical, but I'm not going to under-appreciate it or undervalue it. I have respect for every level of football."


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