this won’t be any different. Don’t forget, the fans have a great team to celebrate after last season’s achievements as well. It’s not only a player, there’s also a great team to pay tribute to.
And the fans can help a good cause with some of the proceeds going to UNICEF…
I always say football is the most important thing that is not important in life. As a footballer, you can create memories and happiness. If you build a school you can help change lives.
Are you looking forward to your new role as Reserves boss, and what sort of manager are you – are you a hard task master?
I believe that you have to be because what was good enough for me when I was 18 or 19 isn’t good enough for them nowadays. I’ve learned so much about what I should have done when I was that age subsequently. I think you need to push them a bit, but the boys want to be pushed as well. It’s not a doddle being a professional footballer, so I think they’ll have to shed their fair share of sweat. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great challenge.
Have you worked with the Reserves before?
I did a few sessions last year and some with the youth team. I asked Choccy (Brian McClair) sometimes if I could have the Reserves to work with, to challenge myself because when you’re doing coaching courses, you don’t want to go in cold. I’ve enjoyed that and now they’re my responsibility, so that’s a better challenge as well.
Have you had advice from anyone?
I’ve spoken to Choccy, and Rene [Meulensteen] has been my mentor for years now. I’ve learned a lot from him on how to run teams and how to coach. We talk while we’re at Carrington and on the phone even during holidays. We have similar views on football and philosophy, which is nice.
You have three pre-season friendlies, then a Lancashire Senior Cup final against Liverpool to look forward to – is that pressure?