South Korea men’s football head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has shrugged off a fair amount of criticism against him over his six-month tenure, ranging from his perceived lack of commitment to his inability to bring out the best in players with tactical brilliance.
But when some vile stuff found its way to his family, Klinsmann had a rare emotional response.
After South Korea’s goalless draw against Wales in Cardiff last Thursday, Klinsmann approached Welsh captain Aaron Ramsey to ask for his shirt. Players typically swap their jerseys after international matches as a sign of mutual respect. Klinsmann later told British media that his son Jonathan, goalkeeper for LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, had specifically asked for Ramsey’s uniform.
In most other circumstances, it could have been regarded as a simple gesture of a father trying to come through for his son. However, the draw extended South Korea’s winless skid to five matches to begin Klinsmann’s tenure. Coming as it did after an uninspired performance, Klinsmann’s action drew a lot of heat from the angry South Korean fans who felt he didn’t appear to take the result all that seriously.
Klinsmann further addressed the situation Thursday after returning to South Korea from England, where South Korea defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 on Tuesday for his first win in charge of the Taegeuk Warriors.
“It was for the physical therapist of my son’s team in Los Angeles,” Klinsmann said of Ramsey’s shirt. A national team official said the physical therapist is from Wales.
“But to be honest, I don’t understand why this would be a reason to criticize something,” Klinsmann added, shaking his head. “My son got critical comments on his Instagram, which is absolutely stupid.”
Klinsmann handled other questions about the team and about his work habits in typical fashion, with a smile and occasional jokes.
He had initially planned to stay put in Europe to watch South Korean internationals there but made a last-minute change to travel back to South Korea. He plans to watch matches in the domestic K League this weekend, a decision likely reached after Klinsmann had been panned for not spending enough time in his host country.
Pressed for the reason for his about-face, Klinsmann nodded toward the media with a smile and said, “Because you asked for it.”
Source: Yonhap News Agency