FORMER Republic of Ireland International, Andy Reid, recently spoke with the FAI about his life as a coach and how great it is to pass on his knowledge to the younger generation of players.
The former caretaker assistant manager with Nottingham Forrest is the current Republic of Ireland U18 head coach, and is loving his role 12 months on.
“I love my current role with the International U18 side,” said Reid.
“I was lucky enough to have a career in the game so to be able to pass on my knowledge and experience now as a coach to players who are treading the same path as I did is very rewarding. I understand what these players are going through as I’ve come through the youth system of Ireland so it’s nice to share my experience with the next generation.
“And I would always hope that they are always learning from me, just like I am always learning as a coach.”
The former midfielder who earned 29 caps for the Boys in Green, as well as playing for clubs such as Notts Forrest, Spurs, Charlton, Sunderland and Blackpool has gained a lot of experience in his 13-year professional career, and has plenty of advice to give to the younger generation.
“The biggest piece of advice I can give to any player is to stay humble, it was advice given to me when I was very young. Irish people and coaches within the association want to produce technically good players with a drive and desire but we want to develop these young men as good people too — it’s very important. For me staying humble is massive.”
With a love for the game, and a desire to always stay involved after his playing days, Reid knew coaching was the path he wanted to go follow, and now he believes from his experience to date, preparation, is one of the key attributes needed to be a great coach.
“It’s very difficult to pick a key attribute to being a great coach but if I was to choose, I would have to say ‘preparation’. If you’re a coach at a high level you will have a great knowledge of the game but preparation is key.
“Whether you’re preparing your training sessions or preparations leading into a game, ie, opposition analysis. I would say preparation is a massive attribute needed for a coach. And if you have this, I believe it’s a great foundation to excel in your role.”
While many people may have pre-match rituals, for Reid, it’s all about staying positive and having that picture of success in your mind at all times.
“Different things work for different people. I was never the superstitious guy so I don’t really have any pre match rituals. Being honest, I’m just so focused on the game and thinking of all the possibilities of what could happen and what I can do to influence it in a positive way, and that’s my game day programme really.”
Always looking to improve and develop his way of coaching, Reid admits he does a lot of research on top coaches from various sporting codes, and although there has been a few coaches who he has admired, one in particular has been a huge influence on his coaching career to date.
“I really like the tactical side of the NFL and the top coach in that would be Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. I’ve watched documentaries and read books about him and I love listening to him talk about the game. He’s someone who I would take inspiration from.
“When you hear players speak about him they always seem so certain of what is expected of them when they go out onto the pitch. All the good coaches I worked under, you always knew exactly what they wanted from you when you went out to play.
“That really comes across when people speak about Bill Belichick, they’re prepared mentally and physically. He oversees the whole football operation of New England Patriots — that’s really admirable. I think it’s very important to take learning from different sports.”
Although he has had many great moments to date, Reid’s stand out memory as a coach was beating the Netherlands at U18 level.
“When I was with Jim Crawford and the U18s at the Pinatar tournament in Spain and we managed to beat the Netherlands 1-0 that was a fantastic moment for me. We had Adam Idah and Jason Knight involved so it was a great group and it’s brilliant to see where those lads have come from and where they’re heading.”
For many of us football fans, the Maradonna documentary was a great watch and for Reid this was no different with Maradonna being one of his idols as a kid, the movie inspired him and in fact, made him choose this era of football as a period he would loved to have coached in.
“Since the Maradona film came out last year, I’ve watched it about seven or eight times and as a footballer Maradona was my favourite. My eight-year-old asks me all the time who my favourite footballer is and I always say Maradona — he can’t believe it’s not Messi or Ronaldo. If there was a team or an era I could have coached it would have been that Napoli team in the late-’80s or early-’90s.
“Tactically he was a genius and understood the game, his technique, his dribbling, and his finishing was fantastic. To be able to have coached him and a Napoli team that achieved great things going from where they were when Maradona arrived to ending up as league champions and UEFA Cup winners —that would have been a real pleasure.”