Had selection differences with Oltmans: David John

John, who was appointed High-Performance Director, took charge of the men’s team as interim coach after Hockey India on Saturday sacked Oltmans despite a largely successful four- and-half-year stint in India.

The decision to sack Oltmans was taken after a three-day meeting of the Hockey India High Performance and Development Committee, which concluded on Saturday.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Interim national hockey coach David John on Sunday admitted that he had “differences over selection process” with the ousted Roelant Oltmans but also clarified that it was not the only reason.

“I did not have any differences with Oltmans’s style of coaching. We had difference of opinion on selection matters. I felt some of the younger players needed to gain international exposure. I don’t believe players sitting in the camp for two years with no international exposure. Their skills need to be upscaled,” said John.

John, who was appointed High-Performance Director, took charge of the men’s team as interim coach after Hockey India on Saturday sacked Oltmans despite a largely successful four- and-half-year stint in India.

The decision was taken after a three-day meeting of the Hockey India High Performance and Development Committee, which concluded on Saturday.

Asked whether selection differences was the melting point for Oltmans’ ouster, John said in the negative by saying it was not his decision, but an unanimous decision taken by the committee.

“That (my differences with Oltmans) wasn’t certainly the case (for Team India Coach’s sacking). There was presentations by team and also Oltmans. Thereafter, the committee made an unanimous decision to look for a coach,” he said.

John also made it clear that he will like to get some of the senior players out of their comfort zones.

“I want to work with players who have been there for the last four years. They have lot of talent, but they have not been consistent enough. May be replacing those players with younger players or may be taking them out of comfort zone and making them accountable for their performances to ensure none takes their places for granted. I want healthy competition within the team to earn their selection,” John said.

Replying to a query, John informed that the search for new coach will begin next week. John will be in-charge of the team till a suitable replacement is found for a smooth transition.