The England assistant manager talks about the coaching set-up of the Three Lions
England v Moldova
FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier
8pm, Friday 6 September
Live on ITV
England Assistant manager Ray Lewington
has seen much during nearly 40 years in the game as a player and a coach.
So, with a double-header on the agenda for the Three Lions this week, and more time on the training pitch, we caught up with Lewington to speak about what goes on behind the scenes at St. George’s Park
As Roy Hodgson
’s number two, he’s been impressed by the attitude of the England players since coming into the set-up last year.
“You think there might be a few big egos and rivalry between players at different clubs, but there’s nothing further from the truth,” revealed Lewington, who has spent much of his career on and off the pitch at Fulham.
“In terms of training, they are probably the best bunch I’ve had the privilege to work with.
“You think you might have a few big egos strutting around, but it’s not the case, they are a joy to work with and I do think they are good players because of that.”
Lewington, who also played for Chelsea, Vancouver Whitecaps, Wimbledon and Sheffield United, became player-manager at Craven Cottage in 1986.
He went on to have various coaching roles at Crystal Palace, Brentford, Watford - as well as at Fulham under Hodgson - before joining him in the national team set-up shortly before Euro 2012.
The 56-year-old says he has picked up a great deal of knowledge along the way and still enjoys getting out on the grass to coach.
“I’ve always thought it a pleasure just to be out here, so enthusiasm is not a problem to me. I enjoy doing what I’m doing,” he told TheFA.com.
“I’ve spent a long time doing it now and served my apprenticeship and think I know my subject properly.
“We’re here to help Roy. Roy’s the head coach in the truest sense of the word. He actually does coach, he’s not a tracksuit manager that comes out and stands on the side. He enjoys coaching, he wants to coach. So we’re here to assist him.”
Alongside Hodgson and Lewington in the coaching team are former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville
and ex-Barnsley and England Under-21s keeper Dave Watson
The group hardly knew one another, let alone had worked together, before joining up for the first time, but Lewington says they get on very well.
“Considering none of us knew each other, apart from Roy and I, we’re a remarkably close team,” he said.
“Dave I knew of, but didn't know him. He’s a very competent goalkeeping coach and I know that Joe (Hart) holds him in high regard. If the players have got that feeling for you, that’s half the battle.”
He added: “I had never met Gary at all, and I must admit I didn’t know what to expect. But I’ve been unbelievably, pleasantly surprised. He’s a really bright lad, whatever he wants to do he’ll do.
“He’s got an opinion, a strong opinion and he tells you. I just think whatever Gary turns his hand to he’ll do well.”
Tickets for Friday's game are still available priced from £25*. Family tickets (2 adults, 2 children) are just £60*. You can buy online at www.TheFA.com/tickets
*subject to availability