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Team 04 January 2022, 19:30

All you need to know about our new coach, Philippe Clement

All you need to know about our new coach, Philippe Clement
Arriving in the Principality on Monday to sign a three-season contract with AS Monaco, the Belgian coach has enjoyed a solid reputation in his country. Here's more on the former Red Devils international.

He has just set his bags down at the foot of the Rock. Present this Sunday in the stands at Stade Robert-Diochon to watch the Rouge et Blanc‘s qualification for the Round of 16 of the Coupe de France against Quevilly-Rouen (a 3-1 win), Philippe Clement is now a Monegasque. On Monday, the 47-year-old Belgian coach signed a three-season contract with AS Monaco, with the aim of getting the Principality club onto the Ligue 1 podium at the end of the season.

An already (very) accomplished track record

Well-recognised in his country, for having always succeeded in havinghis teams play well (Waasland-Beveren, KRC Genk and Club Bruges KV), he thus arrives in the Principality with plenty of ambition. That ambition is to play all the competitions to their fullest, and to help develop a very young squad, one which was reinforced by eight players from the reserves this Sunday in Normandy. Here’s more on a young coach, who is tall in height (1.91m), and already has a similarly lengthy resume.

More than 500 matches as a professional

Before becoming a coach, Philippe Clement was a professional player. A former central defender who could also play as a defensive midfielder, he began his career at Beerschot, before impressing at Genk, where he won the Belgian Cup in 1998. But it was at Club Bruges that he truly built his record, throughout the ten years (1999-2009) that he would spend in the “Venice of the North.” Belgian champion in 2003 and 2005, he also lifted the Belgian cup three other times (2002, 2004 and 2007). In 356 matches with the Bruges club, he would score 52 goals and deliver 14 assists. Not bad for a defender!

He played in the 1998 World Cup in France

A Belgian international, Philippe Clement win 38 caps during his career with the Red Devils. Called on by Georges Leekens to play several friendly matches just before the 1998 World Cup in France, he was then a part of the squad for that most prestigious of competitions. Despite being unbeaten in their three group matches, Belgium were nevertheless eliminated in the first round. Having started in the centre of defence against the Netherlands (0-0) then against South Korea (1-1), Philippe Clement would continue to play for his country until 2007.

He played with Philippe Léonard

In the national team, the former center-back would rub shoulders with a compatriot who was playing for AS Monaco at the time. Left back Philippe Léonard, a two-time champion of France with Jean Tigana in 1997 and Claude Puel in 2000, would also play with Philippe Clement with the Red Devils. A product of the Standard de Liège academy, this ‘other’ Philippe also was a part of the squad in France in 1998, although he did not play a single minute at the World Cup. The two defenders, who were both born in 1974, would share a few matches together until 2006.

A three-time Belgian champion

With an end to his playing career, it was time to focus on coaching! In the 2011-2012 season, Philippe Clement became assistant to the coach who gave him his first cap with Belgium: Georges Leekens. He was also Michel Preud’homme’s number two at Club Bruges, before he finally took his place on the Waasland-Beveren bench in May 2017. This experience would serve him well, as he was quickly spotted by Genk, who made him their head coach for a few months later. With a 57% win rate, and an average of 1.96 points per game, he saw his side become Belgian champions in 2019. He then moved Club Bruges now, where he also impressed with a very offensive and ambitious style of play, which allows him to win two more league titles with a young talented generation (2020 and 2021).

His profile as a modern coach, with his teams playing with great intensity and daring, including on the continental stage, and his ability to combine titles and the development of young players have made him one of the most prominent and successful coaches in Europe in recent years.
Paul MitchellSporting Director

Impressive in Europe

In addition to having an impressive performance at the national level (three times Belgian titles in four years), Philippe Clement hasn’t neglected Europe. In October 2019, he was close to beating down Real Madrid under Zinédine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu, quickly going ahead, before conceding a draw in the Champions League group stage (2-2). A year later, he distinguished himself by winning  twice against Zenit Saint Petersburg (2-1, 3-0), again in the Champions League. Finally, at the start of the current year, he earned a draw against PSG with Neymar, Mbappé and Messi on September 15 (1-1), before recording a great victory away to Leipzig (2-1).

Quick to recognize young talents

Youth, he knows it well! Against Paris Saint-Germain, you may have been dazzled by the technical ability of Dutch winger Noa Lang (22 years old, trained at Ajax Amsterdam), or by the  intelligence of the Belgian Charles De Ketelaere (20 years old). But Philippe Clement hasn’t stopped with bringing out these two great hopes for European football in the past two years. He also coached Krépin Diatta, who impressed at the start of the 2020-2021 season (10 goals and 2 assists in 19 games), before joining AS Monaco. Ruslan Malinovskyi, Joakim Maehle (Atalanta), Leandro Trossard (Brighton), Sander Berge (Sheffield)… He brought through a strong generation at Genk, which today is making a difference in Serie A and the Premier League .

A well-connected coach

More anecdotal, but also sign that he is living with the times, Philippe Clement is a coach who is fairly present on social media. He has an Instagram with nearly 9000 followers, and a Twitter account which now exceeds 3000 followers. So hurry up and follow him on social media!

Photos: Icon Sport

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