Andreas Georgson: Why elite players often don’t make elite coaches
Written by Training Ground Guru — March 27, 2022
MALMÖ Sporting Director Andreas Georgson says coaches who haven’t had playing careers have to work “four times as hard” for opportunities - but that this often makes them better in the long run.
The Swede began his own coaching career in his early twenties, working for Malmö for 14 years at both Academy and first-team level before joining Brentford at the start of 2019/20. He was the Bees' Individual Development and Set Piece Coach and went on to have the same role with Arsenal before returning to Malmö at the start of this season.
Speaking to the Training Ground Guru Podcast, Georgson drew an analogy between coaches who hadn’t played at an elite level and the late developers of youth football.
“The player who has to struggle because he’s not an early developer has to work harder in preparations, in understanding the game, in handling the ball,” the Swede explained. “They normally create the character that’s about improvement and looking inside when they need to get better.
“The same I think is a little bit (true) when you don’t have any playing background and come into coaching - you just have to work four times as hard to get the opportunities and you have to work your way from the bottom up.
“That means you really have to think deep about leadership, what values do I stand for, how do I get an effect? I don’t have the skillset that an elite player has, when it comes to understanding the fine, fine things about playing the game at top level, so I’ve had to learn it.
“And I have to learn it through the players, I have to help them help me understand the finer things I haven’t experienced myself. So, of course, then you build a mindset that I cannot wait for things to happen, I have to try to work hard and learn so I constantly improve.
“Some ex-players have it, but of course sometimes they get the jobs easier, so they don’t have to force their way through that way of thinking. I’m not saying it’s impossible for a former elite player to have it, because they have something I don’t have, but there’s a lot of excitement for me to really go that way otherwise I will never have a chance.”
John Terry and Danny Murphy have previously called for elite players to be fast-tracked through their coaching badges. Speaking in January 2018, Murphy said: “It does seem to be restrictive for players, ex-players like ourselves, and this long-winded journey you have to go on to get qualified."
However, Steven Gerrard has insisted that top players should not be given any shortcuts into coaching.
“If you come out of the game and automatically think you’re going to be a top coach because of the name on your back, or the career that you’ve had, then I think you’re taking big risks and cutting a lot of corners and a lot of learning and growing and evolving out,” said the former England midfielder, who started his coaching career with Liverpool’s Under-18s.