Hudson joins Sheffield United as specialist Defensive Coach
Written by Training Ground Guru — July 5, 2023
FORMER Cardiff City manager Mark Hudson has joined Sheffield United in the new role of Defensive Coach ahead of their return to the Premier League.
The 41-year-old was sacked as Bluebirds boss in January after just four months in charge and also had caretaker stints in charge at Huddersfield Town (as well as being their first-team coach). As a player, he clocked up more than 400 professional appearances for clubs including Crystal Palace, Charlton, Cardiff and Huddersfield.
Blades manager Paul Heckingbottom said: "Mark boasts a wealth of experience of the position and will therefore be adding a lot of detail and support to the defenders. He has also managed too, as have Macca (Stuart McCall) and Jack (Lester), which, from my own point of view, is invaluable.
"He has experienced that position right the way through to the top level, he's coached teams, knows the importance of the defensive unit and also knows how to get a performance out of the group, which helps me, makes my job easier and makes sure fine details aren't missed."
Hudson, a UEFA Pro Licence coach, added: "I'm delighted to be here and join as we move into the Premier League. I've spoken to Hecky a few times, when Hecky and Jack were in the academy I came across and watched them for a few days and I've kept in contact since then really.
"I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago, had a good chat over the phone with Hecky then came in and discussed the role and his expectations, including what I can add to the group because all the staff have specific roles and areas of the team to focus on."
Specific defence coaches are rare in the game. Mark Lawrenson had the title at Newcastle United under Kevin Keegan in the mid-1990s but has recently said: “I did absolutely nothing. Honestly I did absolutely nothing but my CV looks great because we finished second and got into the Champions League.”
The Football Association introduced in and out-of-possession coaches for the England teams when Matt Crocker was Head of Coaching. During this time they won World Cups at Under-17 and U20 level, the European Championships at U19 level and also the Toulon Tournament.
Crocker also introduced the system when he was Director of Football at Southampton, with Carl Martin progressing from the U18s to become an in-possession specialist with the first team.
Manchester United have a forwards coach in Benni McCarthy (his official title is First Team Coach), while several Premier League sides have a specialist Set Piece Coach. However, Defensive Coach remains fairly unique.