De Zerbi is a ‘risk’ because he ‘doesn’t know our game’ – Blimey, Souness has done it again

Jason Soutar
Roberto De Zerbi leaving a press conference

Graeme Souness thinks Brighton’s appointment of Roberto De Zerbi as the club’s new head coach is a “risk” because he “doesn’t know our game”. Oh dear.

Following Graham Potter’s departure for Chelsea, the Seagulls have been on the search for a new boss.

Brighton may have found a strong philosophical match in Roberto De Zerbi

It was announced on Monday evening that De Zerbi was the man who would occupy the AMEX hot seat, penning a four-year deal.

The Brighton job is the Italian’s seventh in management having started his post-playing career with Darfo Boario in 2013.

His jobs have got bigger and better throughout his managerial career and he has now landed in the Premier League after successful spells with Sassuolo in his homeland and Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk.

Unfortunately for De Zerbi, he is going to be hugely unsuccessful because he has never played or managed in England.

This is according to former Liverpool player and manager, Souness, anyway.

Souness has been on a mad one recently – even by his standards – and his rant on Tuesday about De Zerbi is bizarre, out of touch and overall cringeworthy.

He begins by saying it is “a risk” – like pretty much anything is in football.

Why is it a risk? Because he doesn’t know our bloody game. The man’s game that is. Brighton should’ve brought in Sean Dyche because he knows what it means to be a Premier League manager.

Brighton might have been impressed by De Zerbi and his knowledge of the club, but Souness sees right through it.

Truthfully, the Italian head coach didn’t know Brighton existed this time last week and has been rescued by Google.

“I think it’s a risk,” Souness said on talkSPORT. “You’re bringing someone in who doesn’t know our game.

“Because of modern technology, you can Google; they said he impressed with his knowledge of Brighton, what they’ve done and the way they attempt to play. He could’ve got that off Google, most of it.

“Listen, he’s gone for an interview, so he spends a couple of hours on the internet, gets as much information as he possibly can. That’s not the work of a genius.”

Truly outstanding. The “he doesn’t know our game” stuff is perfect.

“I think it’s a risk bringing someone with his CV, seven jobs in nine years,” Souness continued.

“If you’re an outstanding coach then people want to hold onto you.”

The thought of De Zerbi taking the step up from Benevento to Sassuolo and then another step up to play in the Champions League with Shakhtar Donetsk should let him off, but no.

Leaving Shakhtar, however, he has no excuse for. It’s not like there’s a war or something going on in Ukraine.

Souness continued: “It’s like being a player. If you’re a player that had 15 clubs, 12 clubs, that’s telling a lot about you.

“If people want to keep you they’ll keep you because you’re a really good player, a really good type around the place.

“It’s like when you spend a lot of money on a football player, you ideally want someone who has played in your league, scored goals in your league, been consistently very good in your league, no surprises, injury free.

“They’re making the appointment of a manager who has no history in the English game.”

Let’s just think about this for a minute.

Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Erik ten Hag, Bruno Lage, Jesse Marsch and Ralph Hasenhuttl are all current Premier League managers who hadn’t played or managed in England before joining their current club.

Arsene Wenger didn’t know our game, he came from the Japanese league, and literally changed the whole landscape of the sport in England.

Then you’ve got Marcelo Bielsa, Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and so many more who apparently didn’t know our game and probably used Google to their advantage.

TalkSPORT host Jim White then tried to argue the other way, saying Graham Potter came to England to manage after gaining experience in Sweden.

However, Souness argued that it is different because Potter is English.

On De Zerbi, Souness continued: “Doesn’t know anything about the league, doesn’t know the players and the question I asked about what football people are going to be at the club to help him, he will need help. It’s a big risk.”

Oh dear, Graeme.