MARK FOTHERINGHAM is dreaming of becoming a Bundesliga boss after hailing Germany as the best country in the world to serve his coaching apprenticeship.
The 35-year-old left his role as assistant to Gary Bollan at League 2 outfit Cowdenbeath last week to join the staff being assembled by new FC Ingolstadt head coach Tomas Oral, who he previously worked alongside at Karlsruher.
The former Dundee and Celtic midfielder has been parachuted into a relegation dogfight in Germany’s second tier, with Ingolstadt bottom of the league.
However, a 4-2 win at Duisburg in Fotheringham’s first game in the dugout was a sign of early promise.
And, having played for Freiburg as a youngster and worked alongside the likes of Felix Magath, Fotheringham is determined to make the most of the chance to continue his development in the nation that helped shape his career.
Fotheringham has penned an initial deal until the end of season – but has no doubt Germany is where his future lies.
“I was quite brave when I was still a Scotland under-21 player, going to Freiburg for a season,” Fotheringham said. “That is where I caught the bug and I have always absolutely loved the football over here.
“When I was at Anorthosis Famagusta I played with a lot of German players and I loved working with Felix Magath at Fulham, a properly world class German manager.
“So I feel like I’ve already learned a lot from the country. I’ve experienced just how good the coaches are over here and you get the opportunity to work with some outstanding footballers.
“The football over here is just so far ahead of Scotland and, although there are some great coaches and talented players trying to do the right things, Germany is so far ahead. This is where I see my future, hopefully.”
While content to graft behind the scenes with Ingolstadt – who host Holsten Kiel this afternoon – Fotheringham is determined to become his own man in the fullness of time and has vowed to ensure he will be ready for the challenge when the time comes.
“I want to be a head coach in my own right in the future, 100 per cent,” he continued. “That was always something I had in my mind when my playing career was coming to an end. I was actively trying to learn from the very best and gain all the experience I could.
“I want to do my apprenticeship properly so that when I do get that opportunity to be a manager I’m ready for it and do myself justice.”
However, Fotheringham’s priority for the moment is to help mastermind a great escape from the 2.Bundesliga drop-zone – a feat that would almost certainly see Oral and his staff earn extended contracts.
“I’m definitely open to staying at Ingolstadt, providing Tomas is as successful as I believe he will be,” added the well-traveled Dundonian. “I’m very loyal to him and it would be difficult if another coach was to come in.
“It is a tough period for the club but our focus is on improving the players and getting results on the board.”