Robbie Fowler, the former Liverpool footballer, has revealed he has been watching the FIH Pro League in lockdown to enhance his own coaching skills.
Hockey has long been an influencer for football players and coaches and Fowler says that the interchanging, passing and the sport’s creativity in adapting space has influenced him after being appointed coach of Indian Super League team East Bengal last month.
Naturally, the games Fowler watched featured the Dutch.
“The speed at which they move the ball, I know it’s a different ball… we can take a little bit of inspiration,” he told the Indian Express.
He added: “If you are moving the ball quicker, then it takes the opposition a little bit out of their comfort zone, create pockets of space and you can capitalise that way.
“From a defensive point of view, you get a lot of bodies trying to not concede a goal. You look at the fitness and work ethic of these teams, it is really, really good. This is what we want to do.”
Fowler is not the first to revel in the sport’s ‘total hockey’ style.
The quick-passing movements seen in the mesmeric Dutch side’s Total Football of the 1970s was a nod to hockey’s own game.
During Louis van Gaal’s tenure at Manchester United, the Dutch coach employed a video analyst, Max Reckers, who was also a former Dutch hockey international.