Monday 17 September 2012
Everton's David Moyes believes he has Sir Alex Ferguson to thank for his longevity as a Barclays Premier League manager.
The 49-year-old has been charge at Goodison Park for over 10 years and joins a long line of managers to emerge from north of the border and put their skills to the test in the English top-flight, a trend he attributes to the quality of the mentors that have been available to Scotland's aspiring coaches.
"One of the reasons you see so many Scottish coaches around the Leagues is becuase we had Sir Alex Ferguson, Craig Brown, Andy Roxburgh and Walter Smith running it"
Along with West Bromwich Albion's Steve Clarke, Aston Villa's Paul Lambert and Ferguson of Manchester United, Moyes and his Scottish counterparts are in charge of 20% of the clubs in the Barclays Premier League, and the Everton chief believes that this is down to the calibre of the elite managers who taught them their trade.
"One of the reasons you see so many Scottish coaches around the Leagues isn't because the Scottish coaching was much different, it has to do with who we were taught by," Moyes told the Premier League. "We had the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Craig Brown, Andy Roxburgh and Walter Smith running it – all senior managers that gave up a week or two to come and be in charge of the coaching courses."
Despite often having had to compete on a shoe-string budget in arguably the world's most competitive league, Moyes's status as the third-longest serving manager in the English top-flight is undoubtedly a testament to the coaching skills he learned in his homeland. But the former Preston North End boss believes that creative thinking is just as key to being successful as getting the right certificates.
"It is vital that we improve the standard of coaching being delivered," he said. "I see a lot of people getting their badges, which is good, but what I also see is a lack of imagination in the coaching. I see people stuck in the past, doing the same coaching and coming out with the same ideas.
"What I don't see enough of is coaches thinking, 'Now, how can I take it into practice? How can I test the players and task them more to take what we do in that practice into games?'"
"I don't think it is rocket science that good teachers create good students"
Moyes is hopeful, however, that the inception of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) will help improve coaching at every level of the English game and in turn the improved development of players. The EPPP is designed to produce more and better quality home-grown players and to be the world leader in youth development.
"I think it's really important that if you are an Academy Director or coach that you are also good enough to teach the coaches who are below you too. I hope that is what St George's Park will deliver because I don't think it is rocket science that good teachers create good students.
"The importance of learning from others has never left me in my coaching career," added Moyes. "When I took over from Walter [Smith] at Everton one of the first things I was asked was whether I wanted to separate the first team training ground from the Academy. I said 'no' because I've always thought it's important for the young boys and their families who support them to be inspired.
"Any boy hoping for a career in football doesn't have to look far for inspiration at Everton's Finch Farm training ground. On each locker in them first team changing room is the name of every player who has had that locker.
"Players can move on but their place in our history remains. That's what we want young people to come here and appreciate: look at the people who have come here, understand that the seat you are now sitting in is a player from the past. That name could be yours."
The good news is that there is greater direction and focus on youth development than I can ever remember
Moyes firmly believes that young, aspiring players have a greater chance now of progressing into the top flight because of the onus being placed on better coaching, which is one of the central tenets of the EPPP.
"The good news is that there is greater direction and focus on youth development than I can ever remember and clubs are working very hard to try and identify the best young British players very early.
"Over the years Everton have had excellent players coming through, as have the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal; there is a lot of their own home-grown talent coming through the ranks.
"The development of young players who have come through our club is something that we rely on and the people in our Academy there have done a terrific job in giving us players like Wayne Rooney, Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Jack Rodwell.
"That is what I need them to do: deliver me players in a shape where I believe I can put them in a team. I hope that is what the Elite Player Performance Plan delivers.
"What is important now is that a lot of the clubs have got facilities so that we can have an emphasis of getting more hours with the young players than we have had in the past.
"What I have seen and heard so far is that having time in the morning for training, then schooling followed by more training is physically and mentally demanding.
"What is important now is that a lot of the clubs have got facilities so that we can have an emphasis of getting more hours with the young players than we have had in the past"
"Equally though, once they are into the routine of it they are actually OK. Because you are starting them early in the morning, it's actually keeping them away from anything else that might allow them to stray at the time.
"A football club has a delicate balancing act. We must allow children and young men to grow up and not be over-coached, while at the same time ensuring that we are improving their football and still contributing to their education.
"It is an important part of youth development that we want rounded and educated young men as well as talented footballers. For that to take place it is vital that learning should not stop with the boys and that we improve the standard of the coaching being delivered."
Moyes' coaching skills have already been evident this season and the pupil put one over on his former mentor on the opening weekend of the campaign when Everton beat Ferguson's United 1-0.
Since then the eight-time Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month winner has come up against two more graduates of the Scottish school, overcoming Lambert's Aston Villa 3-1 on Matchday Two and succumbing 2-0 to Steve Clarke's West Bromwich Albion last time out.
He will be looking to return to winning ways against last season's Barclays Premier League Manager of the Year, Alan Pardew, on Monday as Everton host Newcastle United.