Aidy Boothroyd: Pert is an example for all aspiring coaches
Written by Simon Austin — October 3, 2019
ENGLAND Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd has told TGG that new Manchester United assistant Martyn Pert is “a great example for any young aspiring coach”.
Pert, 41, has been appointed to United’s coaching staff following spells as assistant with the Bahrain national team and Vancouver White Caps in the MLS.
His relationship with Boothroyd goes back more than 20 years, to when he sent a dossier about clubs he had visited around Europe to the then youth coach at Peterborough.
Boothroyd went on to appoint Pert as one of his assistants at Watford and Coventry City and the duo have stayed in touch ever since. Indeed, when United were considering adding the Englishman to their coaching ranks, they contacted Boothroyd for a reference.
“I got calls from a couple of friends I have at Manchester United, who asked what I thought of Martyn and whether I would give him a reference as a person and as a coach, which I was more than happy to do,” Boothroyd told TGG.
“I’m sure he will be a strong part of their coaching team. You don’t really know about people until you test them and push them and Martyn tends to put himself into those areas, because he wants to be better, he wants to be the best he can be.
“He’s a great example for any young aspiring coach - if you really want something you have to be prepared to make sacrifices and he’s certainly done that over a period of time.
“Nowadays, more than ever, British coaches have to be flexible. That can be a criticism that’s levelled against us, that we only speak one language and only tend to work in one country. I think more and more now that is starting to change.
“He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, a little bit of Italian. When we first really worked together, at Watford in 2005, he was our science guru and helped to periodise the training. He was always looking for the little 1 per cents, the latest developments, and was a big part of what we achieved at the club."
Boothroyd first met Pert when he was a 20-year-old Loughborough University student trying to make his first steps as a coach. He had just travelled around Europe for 16 weeks, visiting some of the continent’s biggest clubs while living in a tent.
"The day I was leaving Peterborough to join Norwich, he turned up with this dossier of all these clubs he’d gone all the way round Europe to visit,” Boothroyd remembered.
“It was really impressive - he’d visited not only the the youth teams but the senior ones too, and looked at things like which was the best at producing players. “Straight away we became friends, because I was very interested in everything he had.
“He’s that sort of guy - if he puts his mind to something, he does it. At Watford, there were five or six players who were older than us, who had more life experience and more experience in football than us, which could be tough.
“But he was open and honest about that and he said, ‘I expect you to test me, just like I’ll test you,’ which was part of the culture we had.
“The things that are different for coaches from even five years ago are that technology has gone to another level and languages make you more employable around the world, they give you more choice and flexibility. Martyn is a great example of how to embrace those things.
“Some things will always stay the same though, like drive, ambition and knowing what you want to be, what you want to do and where you want to go. People skills are also crucial, that will never change. But the things that make up the perfect coaching jigsaw have moved on again in the last few years.”