Aidy Boothroyd: Dyche more than just a long-ball manager
Written by Simon Austin — October 4, 2019
ENGLAND Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd says it is wrong for anyone to pigeon-hole Sean Dyche as a long-ball manager.
While in charge of Watford, Boothroyd handed Dyche his first opportunity in coaching, with the club’s Under-18s. Since then, the 48-year-old has led the Clarets to two promotions and a place in Europe for the first time in 51 years.
However, he is frequently labelled a "long-ball manager" and this is often cited as a reason why he has not landed a bigger job. Following Burnley's 3-0 win over Southampton on the opening day of the season, Saints manager Ralph Hassenhuttl complained it had been “all long balls” from his team's opponents.
Boothroyd argues Dyche is simply making the most of the resources at his disposal and could easily adopt a different style with different players.
“I’ve seen Sean’s teams at Watford, when he was a youth coach with me, and they played a short passing game,” he told TGG. “He’s a very good coach.
“He went to a team that was 13th in the Championship and managed to turn them around, have two promotions and take them into Europe. He’s got the best out of the players he’s got, it’s as simple as that.
"I was there last Saturday against Aston Villa and you know exactly what they are and they know too.”
Boothroyd was also branded a long-ball manager earlier in his career, but adapted when he took over England's U21s in 2016.
“We were really successful at Watford,” he said. “Good coaching is about getting the best out of the players you have and moulding them into a team. That’s what we did.
“England Under-21s is different. The players I’m working with now are of a technical and tactical level that they’re capable of beating the best in the world, so we play a different brand of football than I did at Watford. It’s that flexibility again.
“When I was the Academy Director at West Brom and Norwich I wrote two technical programmes and we played a very tight passing game to develop players and over a period of time managed to do that.
“As a young manager starting out, rather than going after something you can’t achieve because you don’t have the players, you have to be more pragmatic and build your reputation over time. Those are the guys that stay in the game the longest and are the most successful.”
Burnley played the most long balls in the Premier League last season - 2,251 - which was 125 more than second-placed Newcastle United. They had the fourth-highest accuracy for long balls, with 57.1% finding a team-mate, which was above the league average of 55.7%.
Burnley are 11th in the Premier League and host 15th-placed Everton tomorrow.