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Philippe Clement: Career, honours and what to expect

Scottish giants Rangers sacked manager Michael Beale at the start of October, replacing the 43-year-old with Belgian Philippe Clement.

Plenty of names were mentioned to fill the Ibrox vacancy and the international break provided ample time for the Ibrox hierarchy to do their due diligence as they looked to find the right man for the job.

And their search has come to an end with Philippe Clement taking the job on a deal until 2027.

Philippe Clement

Philippe Clement was born in Antwerp, Belgium on March 22nd, 1974.

Playing career

Clement's playing career largely took place in Belgian football, where he clocked up 456 appearances.

As a defensive midfielder, Clement started out at Beerschot where he played 48 times before moving on to Genk in 1995, clocking up 86 appearances and scoring three times.

A spell in England followed, but after just 12 matches for Coventry City, Clement moved back to Belgium in 1999 to begin a 10-year stretch for Belgian giants, Club Brugge.

Over 250 appearances were made for Brugge, but his long stay at the club came to an end in 2009 when he returned to Beerschot, where he would play a further 54 games.

His playing days came to an end in 2011 and would also include 38 caps for Belgium and appearances at the 1998 World Cup in France and Euro 2000, which was held in his home country of Belgium as well as the Netherlands.

Managerial record

Clement who started his managerial career at Club Brugge, where he was interim head coach on two occasions between 2012 and 2013.

Clement's first permanent came during a six-month spell at Waasland-Beveren where he won nine of his 22 matches in charge.

A move to Genk quickly followed and so did the honours, as a Belgian league title was secured at Genk before two more were landed in a three-year spell following Clement's return to Club Brugge.

With his stock rising across Europe, the big clubs were starting to take notice, and Clement made the move to France to take up the head coach position at Monaco, where he stayed until June 2023.

Honours as a player

Clement won the lot as a Club Brugge player, with two league titles accompanied by three Belgian Cups and four Belgian Super Cups.

A Belgian Cup was also won with Genk in the 1997-98 seasons. 

Managerial honours

A Belgian Pro League title was won in 2018-19 with Genk, and two more followed in the consecutive seasons with Club Brugge, where a Belgian Super Cup was also landed in 2021.

Clement won the Belgian Manager of the Season award in 2018-19, and he was named Belgium's Coach of the Year twice, in 2019 and 2020.

He has also won the Raymond Goethals award on two occasions, in 2018 and 2019, with Genk and Club Brugge respectively.

The trophy is awarded to Belgian coaches who most closely resemble former football coach Raymond Goethals in terms of working methods.

Goethals is acknowledged as one of the greatest Belgian coaches of all-time and the only one to win a European Cup in his time at Marseille in 1993. 

Managerial philosophy

Clement generally prefers a possession-based approach, looking to drag the opposing team forward, starting with build-ups from the back.

Rangers are used to having the lion's share of possession, particularly at Ibrox, so the Belgian could be a good fit at the club.

What to expect

Clement has garnered a good reputation as a head coach across Europe and there were reported to be several clubs interested in appointing the experienced Belgian.

But with Beale departing Ibrox following a disappointing start to the new season that has seen the Light Blues already seven points adrift of bitter rivals Celtic, Clement has been selected as his replacement.

Though the title may already be beyond Rangers, Clement will be expected to narrow the gap to their Old Firm rivals while holding the chasing pack at bay, with St Mirren currently joining the Gers on 15 points and Hearts just four points further back in fourth.

A prolonged stay in the Europa League would be preferable, but not essential, however, the trip to Celtic on 30th December will also be on the minds of the Rangers hierarchy, who will be expecting nothing more than a victory on that occasion.

There is plenty to be done before then, though, and the new man at Ibrox will have to hit the ground running.

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