Football: Postecoglou and Howe set for head-to-head battle

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe’s decision to reject Celtic three years ago “dramatically” altered the course of Ange Postecoglou’s coaching career.

The pair go head-to-head at the MCG on Wednesday night when Postecoglou’s Tottenham take on Howe’s Magpies in an all-Premier League Global Football Week clash.

However, had Howe accepted an offer to take charge of Celtic in 2021, it’s a coaching battle that might never had happened.

Postecoglou, who has since described Howe turning down Celtic as a “sliding doors” moment in his own football journey, was subsequently offered the chance to guide the Hoops’ fortunes.

And after leading the Glasgow giants to five trophies in two seasons, the former Socceroos coach was hired by Spurs in June last year.

“We’ve never discussed that,” Howe told News Corp Australia.

“It’s always that kind of thing when you’re a manager and you’re looking at your next opportunity.

“I’ve had it myself where maybe certain things have happened, you think you’re going to miss out on a job, and then you get an opportunity that you don’t expect.

“It can change your life dramatically, and it can change your career. That has certainly happened for me here at Newcastle.”

Under Postecoglou, Spurs finished the EPL season in fifth place and secured a Europa League berth.

Two spots and six points adrift of Tottenham was Newcastle, who beat Spurs 4-0 last month.

The win made up for Spurs ‘ 4-1 home victory over the Magpies in December.

“Ange has done a great job, which we found to our cost we played them at Tottenham. That was a very tough game for us,” Howe said.

“From what I know, Ange is a really nice guy, a really talented manager and I’m really pleased for him on a personal level.

“If you look at Spurs’ style and philosophy, he’s led them the way that he wants them to play. It’s an exciting future for them.

“He’ll be really pleased with his first year’s work with Spurs and we look forward to coming up against them in Melbourne.”

Newcastle’s touring squad will include former A-League prodigy Garang Kuol, who joined the Magpies from the Central Coast Mariners on a four-year deal in January 2023.

Kuol was immediately loaned to Scottish club Hearts, which was followed by another loan move to Dutch outfit Volendam.

The 19-year-old attacker made 16 appearances in all competitions this season for Volendam, who finished second last on the table to be relegated.

“He’s a really highly talented young player,” Howe said of Kuol.

“It’s difficult too see too far beyond the really short-term (future), which is this tour and our pre-season. Then we’ll see what’s the next step for him.”

With Newcastle also playing the A-League All-Stars on Friday night at Marvel Stadium, Kuol is certain to receive game time while in Australia.

“We’ll definitely have to rotate our players,” Howe said.

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