New Swansea coach joins Europe's big boys
IF SELF-BELIEF was any guarantee of footballing success, Swansea may have picked a winner in appointing Bob Bradley as their new boss.
The 58-year-old became the first American to be appointed as head coach of a team in one of Europe's top five leagues on Monday, when he was named to take over from the sacked Francesco Guidolin at the English Premier League side.
For Bradley, the appointment is the opportunity he has long craved to prove he is capable of mixing it at the highest level.
In an interview with Sirius XM radio earlier this year, he maintained that despite his relatively modest curriculum vitae, he believes he is in the same sort of bracket as some of the leading coaches in world football.
"When I have a chance to observe different managers, the ones that do good work, I mention (Mauricio) Pochettino, (Juergen) Klopp, (Thomas) Tuchel that took over for Klopp at Dortmund, he's a fantastic young manager," Bradley said.
"We haven't even talked about the (Pep) Guardiolas and the (Carlo) Ancelottis. But I'll tell you what, maybe I'm stupid, but I think I'm a manager in and around that level."
Bradley, who did not play professionally, has endured highs and lows during a globe-trotting coaching career.
He took the United States into the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup, qualifying from the first round ahead of England.
Bradley was fired from the US job in 2011 after a disappointing defeat to Mexico in the final of the Gold Cup, ultimately paying the price for the perception that his team had stagnated under his reign.
The Princeton graduate was not out of work for long, however, taking over as coach of Egypt in 2011.
Bradley returned to club football after that setback, spending a year with Norwegian side Stabaek.
Last year, he headed to France and came within a whisker of gaining promotion to Ligue 1 with second-tier side Le Havre.