HARRISON, N.Y. – Admittedly an outsider when it comes to US national team matters, New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira doesn’t believe a complete overhaul is the right call after the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 earlier this week.
“I don’t think the US should throw everything [out] and start from nothing,” Vieira said. “They’ve been working for the last few years. It’s just about taking the good and the bad and just try to reflect about what went wrong. I don’t think they should throw everything away because that’s not their answer.”
Vieira speaks from experience, referencing what France did after going from missing the 1994 World Cup to winning it on home soil four years later. The World Cup-winning coach was Aime Jacquet, an assistant under Gerard Houllier, who resigned as Les Bleus coach in 1993.
“They didn’t throw everything out,” Vieira said. “Aime Jacquet came on and he worked in Euros ’96 in England and this is where he found the leaders he needed to build around for the World Cup in ’98.”
Vieira was a 21-year-old on that France team in 1998. By that point he had already spent several years playing first-team football, first at Cannes and then AC Milan before joining Arsenal.
He said the same is true for young players in Europe today, citing 19-year-old French star forward Kylian Mbappe and US opponents in Mexico and throughout Europe.
That’s a difference he sees in some of the young American players, like NYCFC midfielder Tommy McNamara, who played at Brown and Clemson before turning pro at the age of 23 in 2014.
“We played in Ligue 1 when we were between 18, 19 and 20 and we’ve been training maybe twice a day since the age of 15,” Vieira said. “I think it is more difficult, they are some problems you have here than you have in Europe, but there may be some different solutions. I think people need to sit around the table and try to find the best options to give chance to players like Tommy who are playing first-team football when it’s too late.”
Viera said that person certainly shouldn’t be him, even though he has at times been speculated about as a candidate for the USMNT job.
“It’s always flattering, but I’m not ready,” Vieira said. “I think when you go to the national team, it’s important to know the league, to know the players, to understand the system and how it works and you need experience. There’s a lot better candidates than myself.”
Vieira believes there should be some changes in player development “to help young players to spend more time on the field and to have the right training program to help develop those skills,” he said.
And even though he’s been lauded for the work he’s done in establishing a clear identity for his team at NYCFC and he has experience developing younger players at Manchester City, Vieira is adamant he’s not the one to help the US march toward the 2022 World Cup.
“I really don’t know what people are talking or what people are thinking,” Vieira said. “But something I can tell you is that I’m not the right person at all.”
ExtraTime Radio Podcast
LISTEN: That pit in your stomach ... it's likely to be around for awhile. The United States will not play in the 2018 World Cup. It's tough to type. The guys mourn the national soccer nightmare with Fox Sports pundit Alexi Lalas (19:04), Paul Tenorio (35:38) of FourFourTwo and Brian Sciaretta (45:27) of American Soccer Now Subscribe now and preview the MLS weekend. "Like" our Facebook page so you never miss a show! Download this episode!