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Jesse Marsch – the high-pressing American with big shoes to fill again at Leeds

Marsch has a similar preference for high-octane pressing as his predecessor Marcelo Bielsa.

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Jesse Marsch has been appointed Leeds manager (Nick Potts/PA)

Jesse Marsch has been appointed Leeds manager (Nick Potts/PA)

Jesse Marsch has been appointed Leeds manager (Nick Potts/PA)

Jesse Marsch’s appointment by Leeds represents the second time in the space of a year the American has been asked to fill big shoes.

Last summer it was RB Leipzig and the task of following Julian Nagelsmann, after the highly-rated young German was snapped up by Bayern Munich.

That move did not go to plan, with the 48-year-old dismissed in December after a poor start to the season.

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Marsch has a tough act to follow as he replaces the popular Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road (Mike Egerton/PA)

Marsch has a tough act to follow as he replaces the popular Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road (Mike Egerton/PA)

Marsch has a tough act to follow as he replaces the popular Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road (Mike Egerton/PA)

Yet his reputation, forged mainly during an impressive stint at Leipzig’s Red Bull sister club Salzburg, has not been badly damaged and Leeds now see him as the ideal man to follow Marcelo Bielsa.

But again he has a tough act to follow with Bielsa, who oversaw Leeds’ long-awaited return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, having been hugely popular during his time at Elland Road.

The Argentinian thrilled audiences with his exhilarating attacking style and the results it brought, particularly during the promotion campaign of 2019-20, which will live long in memories of fans with whom he also had a clear affinity.

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Marsch (left) was in England earlier this season when his RB Leipzig side faced Manchester City (Martin Rickett/PA)

Marsch (left) was in England earlier this season when his RB Leipzig side faced Manchester City (Martin Rickett/PA)

Marsch (left) was in England earlier this season when his RB Leipzig side faced Manchester City (Martin Rickett/PA)

The club presumably see Marsch, who has a similar preference for high-octane pressing as his predecessor, as someone who can build on Bielsa’s work. Adding a touch more defensive discipline to an already strong team unit would perhaps be the first priority to stem a worrying slide towards the relegation zone.

Despite the failure of his Leipzig tenure – which lasted just 21 games – Marsch was linked almost immediately with a role under Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United, proving his reputation remains very much in tact.

The interim boss at Old Trafford has high regard for Marsch after the American had served as his assistant at Leipzig from 2018 to 2019.

It was the positive impression Marsch made in that role that led to his move to Salzburg, where he twice won an Austrian league and cup double, gained Champions League experience and helped nurture Erling Haaland.

Prior to that he spent three years in charge of another club in the same group, New York Red Bulls, after taking his first head coach job at Montreal Impact. He was MLS coach of the year with the Red Bulls in 2015.

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As a player, Wisconsin native Marsch spent his entire professional career in the United States after graduating from Princeton University, playing for MLS sides DC United, Chicago Fire and Chivas USA.

He won the MLS Cup three times before retiring in 2010 and moving into coaching as an assistant with the US national side to long-time friend and mentor Bob Bradley, under whom he played at Princeton, Chicago and Chivas.

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