National Under-21 team coach Guy Luzon will replace Mircea Rednic as coach of Belgium’s Standard Liege after Israel hosts the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals that begin today, it was announced on Monday.
Luzon, 37, has signed a one-year contract with the Belgian team. He formerly coached Maccabi Petah Tikva (which he took into the Europa League group stage), Hapoel Tel Aviv (which fired him after only 10 games) and Bnei Yehuda (which reached the State Cup final). “I have not hidden in recent years my desire to coach in Europe,” Luzon said during a pre-European Under-21 Championship press conference on Monday. “I am happy at the opportunity and am prepared to succeed. But I will only get involved with the team after the Under-21 championships. For now, I am concentrating solely on the national U-21 team.”
Luzon has held the National U-21 coaching role since 2010. His team begins its campaign on June 5 against Norway in Netanya. After facing Italy and England in further group games, Israel will hope the coach’s reign does not end until the June 18 final.
Luzon said: “I know Standard very well. They are a great club and I am very happy to come to such a big club. Having said that I am also motivated and challenged to succeed and to make the fantastic fans happy. Now I am focused and committed to the U21 team of Israel and at the end of EURO I will go to Liege and start working.”
According to the UEFA website, club president Roland Duchatelet explained that Standard had made the change due to a new policy prioritizing players from their own academy. “We will start preparations for the new season with 14 youth players. It does not mean we will not make any transfers, but only in terms of what we already have got in our own youth system. Rednic did good work, but I think Luzon can bring us more,” he said.
Standard Liege, which finished fourth in the Belgian league and clinched a Europa League qualifying round berth on Sunday, has won 10 national league titles − the most recent in 2009 − and six cups. The team’s roster currently features three Israelis − Dudu Biton and Rami Gershon, who were loaned out this season to Apoel Nicosia and Glasgow Celtic respectively, and Maor Buzaglo, who played only a handful of games this season and will probably be released.