Chris Woods reveals Peter Shilton's influence on Nigel Martyn's current training routines.
Woods passes on gloved secrets: Everton goalkeeping coach Chris Woods tells TheFA.com how he uses some of the same training routines with Nigel Martyn that he learned from Peter Shilton.
Chris Woods won the League Cup with three different clubs - Nottingham Forest, Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday - his first winner's medal coming at the age of 18 when he deputised for a cup-tied Peter Shilton against Liverpool.
He also followed Shilts as England’s number one for three years after Italia 90 and was the backbone behind a revolution in Scotland when he moved north of the border to Glasgow Rangers. He now coaches Everton’s goalkeepers, including Nigel Martyn and Richard Wright.
Then: You started at Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough. What is your favourite Cloughie memory?
He used to make me play squash with him every Friday morning, so I could never go into training. The rest of the team would know who had won by the way he started his team-talk at Friday lunchtime! I wouldn’t let him win as such but he used to get in the way quite a bit during points. I was very young, so I never used to ask for a let even if I had been obstructed.
Now: What have you done to help Nigel Martyn?
I knew Nigel because we were both in the Euro 92 squad and we have a real rapport, we both respect each other a lot and set high standards. I work all the goalkeepers hard and he is a really good worker, even at his age he has worked as hard as anyone.
People say Peter Shilton was a workaholic and having been with Shilts at Nottingham Forest and then England some of that has probably rubbed off on me. I still do little routines that we used to do in the good old days.
One is very good for reflexes. Somebody throws the ball in from the post to the six-yard box for a volley, and the goalkeeper has to get across and try and save. It’s a routine where you use half the goal and I’ve done it throughout my career.
Then: What influence did Peter Shilton have on your career?
He was someone I really looked up to. As a teenager it’s a great thrill to work with someone like that.
Of course, he also restricted my first-team chances, so I wasn’t at Forest for that long. But when I got into the England squad, we had a really good working relationship.
I prided myself on my fitness and he was known for his hard work. The Forest games I did get were in the League Cup when he was cup-tied.
We played Liverpool at Wembley in the 1978 final. I was probably a bit nervous when we walked out onto the pitch and spent the national anthem looking out for friends and family. But once the whistle blows, you forget the nerves really – and we managed to win the cup of course.
Now: Why do so few Premiership clubs have first-choice English goalkeepers?
I don’t think there is the quality or amount of homegrown goalkeepers there used to be.
At Everton we have Nigel, Richard Wright, Steve Simonsen and Paul Gerrard but we are the exception rather than the rule. When I was trying to get into the England squad, there was Shilton, Clemence, Nigel Spink – all really good goalkeepers.
I know from my job that all the scouts are out looking to find young English players but at the moment it’s quite hard, which is sad.
Then: Which of your former clubs do you feel most affinity with?
I had five years at Rangers, Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday, so all of them are special in their own way.
There was never a dull moment at Norwich, we had promotion, relegation and a cup final. At Sheffield Wednesday we beat Manchester United in the Milk Cup Final and then played Arsenal three times at Wembley in 1993. But most of my success came at Rangers, so I always see them as a highlight.
The Scottish League wasn’t as easy as it is now and we had a lot of anti-English feeling to overcome from opposition supporters. I also remember playing at Hampden for England against Scotland.
I got on with Rangers fans, so I thought I might get a bit of a cheer – how wrong can you be? The stick they gave me and the other Ibrox English lads was just as fierce as if we’d been playing for Manchester United or Liverpool.
Now: Who do you rate as the best 'keeper in the Premiership - and you can't choose an Everton player?!
I would say Carlo Cudicini of Chelsea and Brad Friedel at Blackburn are my top two. They are both fantastic shot-stoppers of course but they are more than that. Some of Cudicini’s performances have been incredible, I know he’s made a couple of mistakes but every goalkeeper does. As for Brad, when he is on-song, Blackburn win.
Then: Would you have been even better if you'd had a goalkeeping coach?
I was quite lucky really in that Brian Clough’s coach Alan Hill was a former goalkeeper. He actually signed me at Derby after a trial at Forest had gone wrong. But then Cloughie moved to Forest and took Alan with him, and so did I.
Alan was the person who helped me most and really concentrated on my training, so in a way I did have a goalkeeping coach. And working out with Shilton also helped of course.
Now: How much time do goalkeepers train with each other and how much with the rest of the team?
It depends on the manager but usually we have 45 minutes to an hour at the beginning of the morning with just the goalkeepers. Then we join the outfield players if they are needed for practice matches and things like that.
Then: Do you feel you were dropped from the England side too early?
I do to be honest. We lost to Norway in the summer of 1993 and I do put the first goal down as my fault but I think possibly Graham Taylor was under a bit of pressure and had to be seen to make a change. I was the fall guy.
I was on the bench by the time we lost to Holland later in the year, David Seaman had taken over. I was still only 34 and still felt I could do a job. I got an injury later in the 1993/94 season and struggled to get back into the Sheffield Wednesday side after that but even then I felt I was being written off too early.
Now: Do goalkeepers really have to be as fit as outfield players?
There is a bit of a bandwagon which says players are much fitter now than 10 or 15 years ago but, in reality, we were all very fit back then. We watched what we had to eat and drink, we might have a drink at the right time but we wouldn’t go out in the build-up to matches or anything like that.
I certainly don’t look back and think I could have been any fitter than I was. Goalkeepers today do some running and work really, really hard. They do a lot of physical work in the week, even though it’s also the mental side that’s important in matches.