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 Chelsea and West Ham United striker, Carlton Cole, who received seven Three Lions caps during his 16-year playing career, revealed how much he’s benefited from the programme…
“Steve Guinan came to West Ham and heard that I’d been coaching for the last couple of years and he felt that he wanted to give me some extra coaching, some extra experience and a way to look at another side of being a coach, of being a more complete and rounded coach or manager – or anything I wanted to do in the future. He wanted to give me the support that I knew I needed. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity of being involved in the programme. What this has shown me is that we’re trying to keep all the experience within the game. Football needs the Ashley Coles, the Michael Dawsons; the brains of these guys that have been playing at the highest level. I’m pleased to be involved in the first cohort of an elite few.
“I’ve known Michael Dawson for years, since the England Under-19 days. I’ve known Ashley Cole for years, from youth football all the way up and he’s gone on and made over 100 caps for England. It’s an honour to be around these characters, who we know have an abundance of experience and I bring what I bring to the table as well. Hopefully we can grow together and help each other out. I’m working in youth football, so it’s great that I can relay the messages I’m learning to the youngsters at West Ham at the moment. Mentoring has a huge part to play in kids’ development and even at first team level, because we have all been there and done it. I don’t feel I was really mentored, so if I can learn how to mentor and be a better mentor or coach, that can only make things better for our future national team and players coming through the ranks at clubs.
“St. George’s Park is the home of the national team. To feel a part of it, being here helps you understand how much the staff, coaches and educators put into us as ex-pros trying to get into the next level of our new life as retired footballers. It’s great to be here. We get to sleep here, talk football all day, see other people’s views from other clubs. The England Under-19s are here and we have the opportunity to talk to them and give them advice. We’ve all been through the process. It’s great to be in-house and everyone knows we’re here – and the food’s good as well! It’s a great setting – and this is what it’s for.”