ISL 2017/18: ATK mulls over naming Robbie Keane as player-cum-manager for rest of the season
After a string of disappointing performances, two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK sacked Teddy Sheringham as the head coach earlier in January and director of football Ashley Westwood was named as the interim manager.
The only way he could extend his stay as the head coach was if he could get a 'marquee coach' status from ISL and for that, he had had to manage a top-division club in his own country, or perform the role of a head coach of any international football team.
Westwood's only managerial stint in England was at Kettering Town in the Southern League Premier Division and he had never been the boss of an international team.
So, now that he has taken charge of ATK for three matches, which invariably ended in three defeats, the club have to name a new head coach for what is left of the season.
In such a scenario, the Kolkata-based club are considering naming Robbie Keane as the player-manager, according to our sources.
With only five matches left in the season, and with their chances of making it to the playoffs growing slimmer every passing day, ATK does not want to make any major changes this season. Instead, they are focussing on damage control.
"We are trying to get things done with as little changes possible. At any rate, the team's performance has been poor, so we are trying to control the damage," a club official told Sportskeeda when asked about the development.
Incidentally, Keane, who has scored two goals in six appearances in the ongoing season, has never played the role of a manager. If named, it will be his first stint as a manager.
Previously, former Manchester United legend Sheringham had become the third head coach to part ways with a club in the ongoing season of the ISL after Joao de Deus and Rene Meulensteen were sacked by NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters, respectively.