Football: Platt to be Sampdoria coach

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The Independent Online
DAVID PLATT, the 32-year-old former England captain, will be confirmed as the new coach of Italian Serie A club Sampdoria today, according to sources close to the club.

Platt will be named as the coach of his former club, replacing Luciano Spalletti who was sacked on Monday in the aftermath of Sunday's 5-2 defeat to Lazio, which saw Samp-doria slide to 14th in the 18-team Serie A, just one place away from the relegation zone.

Platt's appointment at such a young age is virtually unprecedented in the Italian League where clubs usually place a high premium on coaching experience. One problem for him could be that he does not have the necessary Italian coaching qualification. However, in the past, Serie A clubs have managed to circumvent that requirement.

He retired from professional football seven months ago and has travelled extensively since then, picking up coaching experience in many different countries along the way. He has also been helping Howard Wilkinson at the Football Association with England's youth and schoolboy teams.

He is expected to sign a contract through to the end of the season with an option on next season and a clause allowing him to opt out should the Football Association call him to work with the England team.

Genoa sources said last night that Platt's appointment has been warmly received by Sampdoria's players. He appears to have been one of three names on a shortlist for the job. The others were former Parma and Borussia Dortmund coach Nevio Scala and Daniel Passarella, coach of the Argentina World Cup squad this summer.

Platt ended his playing career at Arsenal at the end of last season after making his name at Aston Villa, before moving to Bari in 1991. He then moved to Juventus for a season and on to Sampdoria where he stayed for two years until returning to Arsenal in July 1995.

Platt won 62 caps for England and his career transfer fees - pounds 22m - made him the most expensive player in British football.

Platt, who was a player at Sampdoria when they won the Italian Cup, has made no secret of his desire to try his hand at management.

Ray Wilkins, another England international who enjoyed a successful spell in Italy, said: "If he is looking to go into management, I couldn't think of a better place to start."

Wilkins, who managed Queen's Park Rangers and Fulham, said the manager's job in Italy was a very different task without the hours of paperwork and other tasks which normally follows training for English managers.

He said: "There isn't the office work you have here. The manager's job is on the training field and that's where everyone wants to be."