In early June, St. George’s Park played host to the launch of the International Player to Coach (IP2C) programme, which works with former and current England international players as they transition into coaching and management.
The programme’s inaugural participants were Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson and Carlton Cole, who over the course of their five-day stay at the home of England’s teams, were provided with insight into the skills and characteristics required to succeed at the highest levels of the game, whilst also developing an understanding of modern day management, leadership qualities and the ability to think strategically.
Former Arsenal, Chelsea and Derby County full-back, Ashley Cole, who represented England on an incredible 107 occasions, details the benefits he’s experienced through the programme…
“The programme has been great. I think it’s a brilliant idea. It’s certainly put me in positions where I can have the opportunity to sit in front of CEOs. Would I have had those opportunities without the programme? Possibly not. So, I’m very thankful for that. Along the way, we learn a lot and take these opportunities with both hands. We find ourselves and grow, taking on board the information and positions that we’ve been in.
“I’m very thankful to be part of the first group to be involved. I’ve learned a lot being involved in it. We’ve been in front of CEOs, we’ve had engagement with Gareth Southgate, the England manager, providing tactical analysis for him. That opportunity doesn’t come around often and the opportunities we’ve had over the past six months to be around England camps, getting to have one-on-ones with assistants and tapping into their knowledge, has been brilliant. It’s been fun and engaging – and now it’s down to us to take on board what we’ve learned and push forward on our pathway and our development.
“You get to share ideas; you get to pick each other’s brains on how you’d stop certain tactical situations and describe styles of play. We’re almost half interviewing each other at once without knowing! You may like what Daws (Michael Dawson) is saying and it may be similar to what he’d be saying in a job interview without him even knowing it. Again, it’s about putting your best foot forward and being as concise as you can, whether it’s media training or coaching sessions. It’s brilliant to engage with ex-players and learn from them.
“Being at St. George’s Park, you have the ability to be around England coaches. You’re in and around staff that have been there and done it, and you’re around peers. The facilities are great and we get to use amazing pitches. Teams are sent here and we’re able to coach them. Here, we’re able to make mistakes and we have staff around us that can support us with those mistakes.”