Author of Arsenal Academy philosophy leaves for personal reasons
Written by Training Ground Guru — November 6, 2020
MARCEL LUCASSEN, Arsenal’s Head of Coach and Player Development, has left the club after two-and-a-half years for personal family reasons.
The 57-year-old joined the Gunners in June 2018 and described his role as “to further develop the football philosophy” of their youth set-up.
Along with Academy Manager Per Mertesacker, Head of Coaching Luke Hobbs and Football Operations Manager Lee Herron, Lucassen was part of a four-man senior management team at the Academy.
In an interview with Transfermarkt last November, he explained: “When I arrived at Arsenal, I firstly wanted to know, what the club stands for in general. The problem was that no coach could answer me that exactly.
“As a result, we collectively developed the ‘Way of Arsenal’, for which philosophy our teams from Under-9s to U23s stand for and also set an example of.”
He also revealed that he only hired coaches once he had watched them deliver a session.
“We want to see: Is he able to learn, and if and how he uses his experience. Everyone knows the kind of coaches who tell their players: ‘Focus more, play a clean pass, don’t get caught offside’ but don't come up and tell you how to improve it.”
In a separate interview with Voetbal International this February, Lucassen explained: "Per Mertesacker started a month after me and asked me on his first day where we stood. They had told me at Arsenal beforehand that we had to build it from scratch.
"I told Mertesacker that this was incorrect. We didn’t start at zero, but at minus two. In the first month, I asked 20 random people within the club what The Arsenal Way was. Everyone was talking about that, but nobody could answer that question. Three people said, ‘The passing game’.
"So, what is that unique philosophy behind it at Arsenal? Nobody could make that concrete. There were all kinds of training plans, but not based on football philosophy, playing method and principles."
Although Arsenal insisted that Lucassen left the club for personal reasons, they have been streamlining their operations across the board - and it could be argued that the Dutchman's work had largely been done once the football philosophy was in place. He formally left the club this week.
Lucassen had previously worked as Technical Director for Al-Nasr in Dubai, and for the German Football Federation, from 2008 to 2015, where he was responsible for the individual technical and tactical development of the national youth teams.