and Maradona through to Ronaldo and Messi and those types of players, is the fact that these are the ones who have that level of skill to make the difference. You then want to combine that with one and two-touch football similar to the way Barcelona play and their philosophy of high pressing and getting the ball forward quickly. So, to develop the players of the future you need to help them master the skills of the players mentioned and combine them with one and two-touch football. It’s then about using those skills at the right time in the right place.
Are you proud to see youngsters such as Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley putting into practice what you’ve been teaching them for years now?
Absolutely. As a club we can develop players who can be world class. That’s the level we operate on. The fact that Danny and Tom have come through the ranks and become England internationals is something to be really proud of. Players like Tom and Danny have been brought up on everything about this club, the history, the tradition… they are the heartbeat of the club.
What do you do when you have a player coming into the club already at the level of Robin van Persie? What can you do for him as a coach?
It’s such an exciting challenge when a player like Robin arrives. Our first job was to help make sure he settled in quickly. It was an advantage to us that we knew what sort of player he was. The biggest challenge for us was to, as quickly as possible, create an environment whereby Robin understood what the club is about, what the training is about and what the expectations are. It could not have gone any better – he’s been absolutely brilliant, and hopefully that will continue for the