inspires you to be an even better coach because you have to help improve players who are already at the top of their game. And that’s what I’m trying to do.
David Moyes has talked about what an exciting challenge it is for him as manager, is it just as big a challenge for you as a coach?
Absolutely. It’s awe-inspiring and I’m loving every minute of it. I had a taste of it when I worked with the national team for a couple of years and I’ve worked for some very good football clubs. The last one I was at, Everton, was fantastic with great people and I enjoyed it, but then you come to this level and you have to step up again. It really is an exceptional place to work.
What has impressed you most about the players and their work ethic?
I think players in general are now realising that in order to keep themselves in top physical condition they have to go the extra mile every day. There are no short-cuts. You’ve got to do the work. I’ve been very impressed by the United lads’ professionalism to make sure they’re in top physical condition by doing that extra work. The senior players are vital to the squad - they set the benchmark and are the ones everyone wants to emulate. And the senior lads lead by example. The likes of Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra…all the senior players I’ve worked with so far set the standard and that filters through to the young lads.
How much of a benefit is it to have Ryan and Phil Neville on the coaching staff?
It’s fantastic. I’ve worked with Phil for a long time, both at Everton and for England so I know him very well. He’s a great addition to the squad. He has great enthusiasm and he wants to progress in his coaching career – he’s pestering me every single day for ideas and information! His work ethic is infectious and he’s a great guy to have around. To have Ryan as a player/coach