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Why Liverpool FC legend Didi Hamann won’t lose any sleep – despite being unemployed

Oct 10 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo


WHEN you are at a loose end, it pays to surround yourself with friends and few know that better than Dietmar Hamann.


Normally at this point in a season, when the second international break comes along, the German midfielder would be catching his breath after negotiating the first, chaotic weeks but preparing himself for bigger challenges to come.


For the first time in his career, however, Hamann finds himself without a club; though there have been offers and proposals since his contract with Manchester City expired in July, nothing permanent has transpired.


Some footballers in a similar position would inevitably find themselves panicking now, fearing that there hopes of enjoying one last hurrah had been extinguished but Hamann, clearly, is on good terms with himself.


No wonder. Rather than sit around feeling sorry for himself, Hamann has taken steps towards preparing for the future and that has enabled him to come back to the place that was his home for seven years.


With ambitions of one day becoming a coach, Hamann phoned Liverpool’s Academy Director Frank McParland a couple of weeks ago and asked whether it would be possible to gain some experience – a positive response was never in doubt.


So now Hamann, who sat a coaching course at Keele University in May, is working with the Reds’ under-16s and will be on the touchline when they face Bolton today; playing might be the pinnacle but this, certainly, is the next best thing.


“It’s nice to have this involvement,” he said. “They are a good set of lads and there are some very good players. I’m enjoying it. I always said that I wanted to go into coaching at some stage, so with nothing having come up in terms of playing, this has been ideal.


“I’d spoken to Frankie and he had told me that the boys would be happy for me to come down and talk to them about one or two things. I’m enjoying working with (under-16s coach) Stevie Cooper. In many ways, it’s been like coming home again.


“I get on with everyone here, it’s such a great club and you never pass up the chance to return; I’ve not spoken with Rafa yet but I’ve seen Kenny (Dalglish) and a lot of people are still here from my time.”


After his deal expired at Eastlands, there were suggestions of moves to Hull, Preston and Notts County, while clubs in Germany – notably Stuttgart, coached by another old Red Markus Babbel – also made tentative enquiries but, as yet, nothing has come to fruition.


“The longer it goes on, it’s not ideal but I’m still doing my best to keep myself in shape and I hope the right offer comes along,” Hamann explained. “But I’m keeping myself busy and I’m not having any sleepless nights.


“You’ve just got to try and carry on as normal, keep yourself busy. If someone had an offer for me, I’d be delighted to listen but I’m enjoying what I’m doing at the minute and we’ll just have to see what happens.”


One of life’s more laid back characters, it should not surprise that Hamann is unruffled by not having a club to play for because, as those supporters who watched him serve Liverpool with such distinction from 1999, little could knock him out of his elegant stride.


So it is just as significant to hear his views about Liverpool’s quest to win the title; rather than getting carried away by losing to Chelsea last weekend, Hamann is confident that Benitez’s men will once again find themselves in the thick of the action.


“It’s early days,” said Hamann, who cost £8m when Gerard Houllier signed him from Newcastle. “Okay, we’ve lost more games so far than we did in the whole of last year but sometimes that’s not a problem if you are not putting draws on the board as well.


“It was a difficult game at Chelsea, they look pretty solid at the minute. But you have to remember that the league is very compact and the top teams will be taking points off each other all the time; I can also see Manchester City getting involved, as they look strong.


“But once Liverpool find the right balance, they will be fine. There are a couple of big games coming up but Glen Johnson is a good addition to the squad and once (Javier) Mascherano finds his form, they will be right back up there.”


He might have left Anfield three years ago but there is no disguising the affinity Hamann has for the club and he jumped at the chance to pull on a Red shirt again for a cameo role in the spoof film ‘15 Minutes That Shook The World’.


That night in Istanbul, of course, was arguably the night Hamann produced his defining Liverpool performance, helping lay the foundations for that unforgettable comeback against AC Milan and scoring a penalty in the shootout; it was the zenith of his spell.


“It was a good laugh and I was only too happy to help because it was for a good cause,” said Hamann, whose 283 appearances yielded 11 goals. “It certainly brought back memories. It’s nearly five years on and you still get reminded about it all the time.


“I had a fabulous time with Liverpool. I came at a point when we were in transition but not long after everything seemed to click into place; we had great home-grown talent in Stevie, Carra, Danny Murphy and Michael (Owen).


“At the back, the partnership of Henchoz and Hyypia was as good as there had been in years; it wasn’t an easy time at first for the club but after it clicked, we enjoyed some great success.


“Liverpool will always be in my heart, I enjoyed my seven years here, met some outstanding people and had such a great time; it would be great to come back in the future and be able to work here in some capacity. That’s the dream.”



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