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 Tottenham Hotspur defender Michael Dawson, who earned four Three Lions caps, reveals more about his experience on the programme…
“The FA have been fantastic. Myself, Ashley Cole and Carlton Cole have been doing an International Player to Coach programme and it’s been great. We’ve been doing elements of the programme from home via Zoom, such as the media stuff, because of COVID-19 as we haven’t been able to get into the grounds. We’ve been doing the A-Licence from home too, but it’s been great to be able to get out on the training pitch because that’s where coaches want to be. You want to get out and practice, and here at St. George’s Park they have been helping us. It’s been great. It’s all about getting out on the grass and improving the technical and tactical elements and they’re there for us.
“To be asked to be part of the initial group is a great honour. I was very lucky to get four caps although it would have been nice if I could have won an awful lot more, but I’m pleased The FA selected me and it has been great for all three of us.
“On the practical side, it’s great when you come and work. I played against Ashley (Cole) and Carlton (Cole) many a times at big rivals. To get on the grass, me and Ashley have worked together and bounced off each other in sessions. We’ve had session plans to do, coaching over long days, but it’s great. It’s different; when you’re a player, you turn up and you take care of yourself, but when you’re a coach you have session plans to do, debriefs, looking at ways you can improve – and that’s what it’s all about.
“You always have to learn. Myself as a player at 37, you’re always learning things and try to improve, and you pass that on to the younger generation. For coaches, that’s what they’re now doing for us.
“The facilities at St. George’s Park are absolutely sensational. We were on the pitches yesterday and we got wet, today we’ve been in the dome and it’s nice and dry. The hotel is perfect. As far as facilities go, it doesn’t get any better. We’re here to work and they’re long days, but St. George’s Park is a fantastic venue to host this. It still feels like it has the newness about it and the surroundings are perfect for what we’re doing.”