If first impressions are anything to go by, then new All Whites' coach Fritz Schmid will be significantly different to his predecessor.
The 58-year-old Swiss was confirmed in the role on Friday, at an understated press conference in the basement of QBE Stadium.
It was an obvious contrast to the "bells and whistles" unveiling of Anthony Hudson at a plush Viaduct venue in 2014, where the young Englishman was presented by New Zealand Football as the next big thing.
But that probably suited Schmid.
Where Hudson seemed ambitious and charismatic — admitting that New Zealand was just a stepping stone, with the UEFA Champions League the ultimate goal — Schmid made no such proclamations.
And while Hudson had a set playing style, Schmid instantly shied away from that approach.
"If you don't respect the resources, if you just come with a playing style, you are already bound to failure," said Schmid. "You cannot just implement an idea, you have to see where they are."
Schmid, whose main coaching experience has come as an assistant with FC Basel (2002-09) and the Austrian national team (2011-13), also gave early indications of a player centric approach.
"I need the players involved in the process," said Schmid. "I'm not the general explaining the process...you might lose the team. I want the players to buy into it."
Schmid has decades of experience in different roles but might initially be a hard sell to the football community here, given he hasn't been a head coach since 2001 and his roles as the top man have been limited to the second and third tier clubs in Switzerland.
That explained NZF CEO's Andy Martin's extensive introductory spiel, where he listed Schmid's varied attributes. Aside from his coaching experience, Martin mentioned that Schmid had been a Fifa coach educator, a technical director in Asia (with Malaysia) and that he gained his UEFA Pro licence in Italy — "one of the hardest countries to get it".
Martin also mentioned that Schmid is a qualified journalist, speaks four languages, and has gained a sports management qualification from the Johan Cryuff Institute in Barcelona.
Schmid didn't believe his lack of head coach experience was going to be a disadvantage.
"You always need to keep up with the development of the game, whether you are in the front line, or as a staff member," said Schmid. "You need to keep studying where football is moving and to be honest if you are in the second line it gives you more freedom to study and understand the different approaches and levels of a head coach. I might have been preparing for this job for a long time and now it's time to step up and take the role."
Heraf also downplayed the fact that Schmid has mostly been in assistant roles.
"There are two types of assistant coaches," said Heraf. "On the one hand the guys putting the poles on the pitch and that's it....and [then] other ones that are involved in the process and development of the team and he was one of those. He has been [like] a second head coach, and the same in the Austrian FA, more than an assistant coach."
Schmid's previous relationship with Heraf — they worked together at the Austrian FA for two years — has also seemingly played a big role in the decision.
"We met regularly at these coaching meetings [in Austria]," said Heraf. "We had a lot of good discussions and we figured out we had a similar approach to football. So when he applied I remembered those discussions that we had and I was pleased...I think it's a really good decision we have made."
Schmid will start work in March once his visa application is complete, before taking charge of the All Whites match against Canada in Spain on March 24.
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