SYDNEY — World Cup-winning coach Vicente del Bosque has some advice for sprint king Usain Bolt’s new Australian club — play him in defence.
The Jamaican superstar has been handed the chance to train with the Central Coast Mariners for an indefinite period in a bid to prove he has what it takes to earn a professional playing contract.
The eight-time Olympic champion made his debut late last month in a 20-minute cameo as a substitute during a friendly, starting in his favoured left wing position. He nearly scored but tired quickly and admitted he was not match-fit.
Del Bosque, whose eight-year reign as Spain coach ended after their last 16 exit at Euro 2016, said it was possible Bolt could fulfil his dream of becoming a footballer, despite being 32.
“For a team that counter-attacks hard and transitions quickly into open space, sure (he would fit in). It would be possible, of course,” del Bosque, who guided Spain to the 2010 World Cup crown, told the Olympic Channel.
But he suggested the 100m world record holder would be better in defence than up front.
“He could be a fullback that covers a lot of space, but it depends, because it’s not just about covering 100, or 60 or 70 metres of the pitch,” said del Bosque.
“Without a doubt as a fullback, with his back towards the crowd and the touchline, that’s where he would be most useful.”
Bolt, who retired from athletics last year, has previously tried out with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway, to no avail.
“To start playing professional football at the age of 32 isn’t normal,” added del Bosque.
“But he has won a lot during his 32 years of life and, he has earned the right to say: ‘Hey, I want to be a footballer.’ ” — AFP