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20.03.2013, 17:00
Wilbek: No sentimentality before final curtain
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The EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark will be Ulrik Wilbek's last major tournament as national coach, but he refuses to be emotional about his upcoming farewell.
 

Wilbek: No sentimentality before final curtain

More than 20 years as handball coach at a top level, two EHF EURO titles and one bronze medal, two World Championship silver medals and one bronze.

That is the record for 54-year-old Ulrik Wilbek who is stepping down in the spring 2014 after nine years as Denmark´s national coach.

The EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark will therefore be his last major assignment as coach, but he denies that having any specific thoughts and feelings about facing the final curtain.

“The European championship is not going to be about me, and therefore I have said not to all the TV stations and other media who have wanted to make “memory programmes” about me.

“It is going to be a great event in Denmark and not a testimonial for the national coach. If some media want to mark the occasion, when I have the last match with the national team sometime in April next year, they can do so, but not before that,” Ulrik Wilbek told eurohandball.com.

Since the early autumn of 2012 has he not only been national coach, but sports director by the Danish Handball Federation as well. This job means that he is also involved in finding his own successor.

“However, the name of the new national coach will not be revealed until after the championship, as this should not take any focus from the event either.

“We are not even in the phase, where we think about names yet. First we are going to make a job profile, and it is important that we do not start looking for another Ulrik Wilbek.

“After nine years with the same coach, the team may very well need a person with some new ideas and a different way of doing things, and where the coach takes care of some things, and the sports director assists in other matters,” Wilbek said.

At present he is at the beginning of the preparations for EHF EURO 2014. Being hosts means that Denmark are not going to play any qualification matches this year, but the absence of important matches does not bother the Danish national coach.

“Our team is so experienced now that we do not really have the need for those deciding matches inbetween championships.

“As long as we get the match practice in friendlies that is fine. In connection with the draw for the championship in June we play against Poland, and we are also sure to get qualified opposition for our test matches in the autumn, although I cannot reveal any names at the moment.

Actually, I feel very well about giving the players in the national team the spring and the summer off after having played a European championship, an Olympic tournament and a World Championship within a year.

“Instead, we play a tournament in Poland after Easter with a squad of players who may be relevant for the national team in future. However, it is difficult for new players to make it into the national team at the moment, as we have a rather young national team as it is.

“Most of the older players have said goodbye within the last few years, and there are really only two or three of them left, but still, there may be room for one or two new ones, and injuries can always occur, of course,“ concluded Wilbek.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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