Leicester City first team coach, Kolo Toure, outlines how he is connecting with the Foxes’ young players to support their development at the Premier League club.
Modern-day footballers need “friendship and support” from coaching staff in order to cope with the demands of the game, explains Leicester City’s Kolo Toure.The Foxes first-team coach, who joined the Premier League side in 2019 and is currently studying for his UEFA Pro Licence at St. George’s Park, feels young players need guidance to navigate the modern game and that his own wealth of playing experience can help him do so.

“I think the most important thing is just to be their friend and to support them,” explains the 38-year-old.

“Football is global, it’s a big, big thing in the world and we’re dealing with players who are young, they're 22, 23, 24 years old and have demand coming around them - it’s quite difficult.”

“You have to collaborate with them. Communication is very, very important.”

“Nowadays with social media as well their life is exposed a lot. They have pressure, social pressure from family, agents and friends. And I think they need help,” says Toure.

During his own career the former Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool defender won the Premier League and FA Cup as well as winning the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast. He was also part of the Gunners’ ‘Invincible’ side that went unbeaten during the 2003-04 season.

With the Ivorian finishing playing in 2017, he believes his recent playing experiences can help him connect with the current generation of players.

“These players need some support and as a coach and an ex-player, I've been in this situation and I try to use that. I try to use that to help them, to make them feel better and I think that's quite important.”

Leicester City first-team coach, Kolo Toure, explains the next part of his training session to Jonny Evans and the rest of the squad.
Toure believes his experience as a former player helps him connect with the Leicester squad. Image: Neil Plumb.

“I think because I’ve been through the game and most of them saw me play, I can see that we have a great relationship for that as well. Most of them saw me play, [maybe] played against me” explains Toure.

However, the Ivorian is quick to point out that previous playing experience is not essential to engaging with young players. Empathy, connection and knowledge are still the most valuable assets as a coach.

“It’s not only playing experience [that allows you to connect], you have to prove as a coach as well that you can help them, you can support them and you can advise them. This is the most important thing.”

Before the game this is a moment that I've been in and this is a moment where I feel like I'm going to war 

Toure is in his second role with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers following a successful spell as part of the coaching staff at Celtic, where the pair helped the Scottish side win the domestic treble during the 2017-18 season.

Having followed Rodgers to Leicester in 2019, Toure is now enjoying the challenge of working with Premier League players, particularly on matchday.

Leicester City first-team coach, Kolo Toure, and midfielder James Maddison, laugh during a warm up session before their game away to West Ham United.
Toure believes communication is the key to helping players feel better in the football environment. Image: Simon Dael/BPI/REX.

“On matchday my role is to prepare the defenders most of the time - talk a lot to them, go around and try to motivate the players in the dressing room. I feel like it’s a very important moment. This is the day where they have to give everything and try to win the game.

“I really like to motivate the players, because before the game this is a moment that I've been in and this is a moment where I feel like I'm going to war, and I really enjoy this time.

“This is a moment where you have to give everything for the players. You have to push them. You have to make them believe that they can win a game.”

Kolo Toure, Leicester City first-team coach, is interviewed at St. George's Park during the 2019/20 UEFA Pro Licence course.
Kolo Toure pictured at St. George’s Park as part of the 2019/20 UEFA Pro Licence course.

Away from matchday, Toure is enjoying working collaboratively with the club’s coaching staff that includes: Rodgers, Chris Davies [assistant manager], Adam Sadler [first team coach] and Mike Stowell [first team and goalkeeper coach].

Daily coaching sessions are carefully planned with a variety of members of staff involved in decision-making to ensure the players get the maximum benefit of any time on the grass.

“I really like training because you can give the players details, you can give them key points and we can help them play better on the pitch,” says Toure.

“We’re all really structured coaches and everything is prepared in advance. We have a meeting where we go through with the medical staff about injured players and, as coaches, we talk about the training contents.

“[The day before the session] Chris Davies will tell me if he wants me to take a possession game or if he wants me to take a technical game and then we discuss it together. Sometimes he will tell me what I need to do and sometimes he will ask me to design it myself.

“You prepare and then in the morning explain it to the manager. The manager sometimes will have some changes on it, he will have some say about what he's seeing and if he wants you to do it better.”

“Everything is really structured and prepared.”


Article image courtesy of Neil Plumb.


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