Southeast Asia Indonesia

From the Gelora Bung Tomo to Villa Park – Josep Gombau Named as Aston Villa’s New U-21 Head Coach

Former Persebaya Surabaya head coach Josep Gombau has been appointed as the new head coach for Premier League side Aston Villa’s U-21 side, in a move that was seen as a significant step-up in the Spaniard’s coaching CV.

Gombau, who also had experience coaching Barcelona’s youth team as well as having stints in Australia and India with the likes of Adelaide United, Western Sydney Wanderers, and Odisha FC, was sacked from his Persebaya post after just six games due to pressure from the Bajul Ijo‘s fervent fanbase. Despite the limited resources that the Spaniard has and the short time that he spent in Surabaya, the Persebaya fans saw that his record of just one win in six games as something unacceptable and called for his sacking, which the club management obliged.

However, Persebaya fans may found themselves eating at their own words as Gombau ended up landing the prestigious job of coaching Aston Villa’s U-21 side, helping senior team head coach Unai Emery in brooding the Villains’ future talents.

Notable alumni include Jack Grealish, Ciaran Clark, Gabriel Agbonlahor, and Gareth Barry, while Jacob Ramsey has seen some valuable playing time with the senior team in recent seasons.

Gombau will be overseeing the growths of the likes of Omari Kellyman, Kadan Young, Tommi O’Reilly, Tim Iroegbunam, and highly-rated former Glasgow Rangers prodigy Rory Wilson, with Kellyman, O’Reilly, and Iroegbunam already clocking up minutes with Emery’s senior team.

And while Persebaya had landed themselves a decent replacement head coach in Paul Munster, Persebaya fans will be looking at this appointment and thinking what could’ve been should they gave Gombau some more time for him to fully implement his tactics and philosophies at the Bajul Ijo.