Whatever happens to Gareth Bale, whatever happens to Wayne Rooney, there will be some British influence at Real Madrid next season.
Carlo Ancelotti, unveiled as manager Wednesday afternoon, will be assisted by Paul Clement, his old coach from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain. Clement is slightly rare as an English coach, not just because of his prestigious and exotic foreign postings but because of his background.
Although Clement came from a football family – his father Dave played for Queens Park Rangers and England, his brother Neil for West Bromwich Albion – he knew he did not quite have the talent to make it as a professional.
So, Paul Clement did a Sport Science degree at St Mary’s college in Twickenham and then on to do his coaching badges. He became a PE teacher at Glenthorne High School in Sutton and worked at Chelsea, initially at the Centre of Excellence.
It was a long journey through the ranks at Chelsea, as it often can be for coaches who do not have the name-recognition of a former player. Clement worked with the youngest players there, aged 10 and 12, before moving up through the age-groups. He worked for the Football in the Community programme. He went to Fulham to be head of education and welfare.
Back at Chelsea, as youth, reserve and then first-team coach, Clement eventually benefited from the frequent changes, becoming an assistant to Guus Hiddink when he replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2009. Staying to work under Ancelotti, Clement made such a good impression with his close work with players that, when Ancelotti took over at PSG, he brought Clement – then working with Steve Kean at Blackburn Rovers – to France with him.
It worked well enough for PSG to win Ligue 1 last year and now Clement will be competing for La Liga next year. He harbours managerial ambitions which he will surely fulfil but, for now, sharing a bench with Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane will have to do.