What makes a great Coach?

I have been watching with jaw agape the massive improvement in Raheem Sterling and wondered what has happened. This chap went from being a raw, undisciplined teenager at Liverpool into becoming, one of the best players in the PL. He excites. Then the penny dropped … Guardiola.

One of the essential qualities of the good coach is the ability to improve a player and help him reach their maximum potential. A manager/coach can come into a successful team and get them playing better – the new manager bounce is well known, but anyone can do that, think Roberto Di Matteo or OGS. It takes real talent to truly improve the team and the individual players, there are not many who can.

Of the current managers Klopp and  Guardiola are the first who spring to mind.

Klopp: This chap can clearly coach. Just look at Jordan Henderson. Used to be a Denilson, now a Gilberto Silva. Or Milner, was Stephen Hillier, now Ray Parlour. Up front Salah has gone from Sanogo to Ian Wright!

Guardiola: He has improved players throughout his career. Messi was a water carrier before Pep got to work (joke). Bernard Silva, Walker, Sterling etc are proof of his prowess.

Then there are the coaches who take a team and get them to punch above their wight – Eddie Howe and, this season’s probable Manager of the Year, Nuno Santo at Wolves,.

And what of our chap, Mr. Emery?

So far so good, but let’s look at how he is doing with individual players. Who has improved under his coaching – certainly Rob Holding. Before his injury the lad wasa revelation. Iwobi has become integral to the team. Xhaka is also much improved as is Lacazette. So, was Bellerin. The chap who has made the biggest advancement is Kolasinac, who has become an automatic first choice when last season he was a liability.

Young players are coming through under Emery’s tutelage with Douzi leading the way.

Players flocked to Wenger’s Arsenal because they knew he could improve them, I think Emery has the same ability – it bodes well.

written by BR


19 Responses to What makes a great Coach?

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, BR.

    Emery seems to be moving in the right direction.

    That Stephen Hillier was a beast of a player until he broke his arm stealing suitcases at the airport. 🙂

  2. RA says:

    Morning my fine fellow AAers,

    I was swinging along with your very interesting Post, Raddy, having already read your comments regarding flippers, dodgy refereeing decisions, and mentioning that we have some really exciting young players ( the 18 y.o. Brazilian bloke is called Medley who we signed from Chelsea) and agreeing happily with all your views.

    Then you got into the comparison of managers/coaches and the ability of some of them to radically improve previously unspectacular players, and again I totally agreed.

    I think it is too early to put Embers in the same category as Pep Guardiola, Klop and maybe Punchytino — but for everyone that Unai seems to have improved, Iwobi, for example, has been very much better this season, but Unai’s management of Mesut is questionable, then again, despite both Dozy and Terrier having a bit of a hiccough at the moment they have been an early season success, but for me Mikhi has been a disappointment so far, and looks less than interested at times.

    So good and not so good. — and you may have noticed I have not mentioned my marmite players, Xhaka and Belli. 😜

    A different Post that tickles the brain cells — and that has to be a good thing.

  3. LBG says:

    Thanks Raddy
    Like most I feel Dick is going in the right direction and needs some time.
    Having watched the friendly in Dubai yesterday however, I am more concerned about his judgement in a different area than improving current first team squad members!
    Of course we have entered a new era of management/coaching/scouting/contract structure, and, unlike AW, he is not directly responsible for most of it. But please tell me one of the most important tasks occupying his mind at the moment is how to “integrate” the undoubted talent we have in the U23s and Academy at the moment.
    Just look at what is on offer, and how fingers need to be extracted immediately if it is not to be lost for good.
    Smith-Rowe and Nelson abroad and thriving with game time. John Jules, precocious talent with contract up in just over a year. Mavropanos, more impressive every time I see him (despite lacking support from Medley in the first half – who was being played out of position).
    And that’s not including Medley himself, Dominic Thompson ( who I believe should be our next left back) and Pleguezuelo, a hard hitting, uncompromising captain in the TA mould.
    Dick, get rid of the dross and show these boys they have a place in your plans for the future. As David Seaman and the BFG say U23 fixtures are not enough to keep this talent happy. Use them; save the money on new foreign players in the summer and show your own ability by coaching what we possess already!

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m in between two schools of thought on this one Raddy.; not because I don’t see improvement in certain players as I certainly do, but my dilemma is how long will the improvement last.

    Some players appreciate a coaches input while others think “who is he to tell me what I’m best at – I know better”.

    Players who have already achieved great results (Ozil – World Cup winner) may ask “why should I change my style – it’s what got me here”

    So I will sit back and wait to see if the changes are sustainable.

  5. GunnerN5 says:

    Great comment LBG – I agree 100%

  6. GunnerN5 says:


    I’m really open minded with Emery but the question I ponder about the players retaining his methods also applies to him – as it’s his responsibility to keep the players performing at their maximum ability levels. Which of course raises another question – “is their maximum good enough”?

  7. allezkev says:

    The jump from the U23’s to the EPL is massive and I don’t think our fan base is as patient or as understanding as they were in days of yore. So the Bundesliga avenue is definitely the way to go and in Mertesaker we have the man who can exploit that avenue.

    I’d love to see more of our youngsters given a chance but a couple of bad results and all the usual suspects on Twitter will explode.

    As for Emery, he’s done a solid job imo, gradually changing the culture at our club but there’s still a lot to do and a lot of personnel changes to navigate.

    Good post.

  8. RA says:


    You have touched on the most difficult decision all coaches have, at whatever level their club is at in the Premier.

    Can they coach youngsters and let them into the 1st team squad rather than relying on the current 1st team players, because as you say, if the kids have a ‘mare in any game, that would jeopardise the clubs success, antagonise the supporters and ruin the confidence of the youngsters. Perhaps forever.

    The easier route, for any coach, is to spend money and get already established players in, and leave the kids where they are to rot in the U23s, until they take umbrage and leave.

    Shortsighted? Definitely! But the intensity of the competition and the demanding fans make it inevitable, it seems.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Agree about the Bundesliga, the youth players have to get pitch time.

    Smith Rowe has been injured and hardly played but just living abroad will help him.

    RA. It is no surprise that Emery is playing his most experienced team at the crunch end of the season.

  10. RC78 says:

    1. Trophies – Team Buy-In – Youth Development – A fun to watch team

    2. PSG News
    – Herrera, Allan, Filipe Luis on PSG radar as Tuchel wants to bulk up his midfield option
    – Thiago Silva and Cavani may be sold

    3. Real Madrid news
    – Mane keen to join Zidane in Madrid
    – Zidane keen on Icardi as long term Benzema replacement
    – Modric or Kross to leave Madrid while Bale is a sure goner

  11. LB says:

    Hmmmm, not quite as convinced of some about Guardiola’s talents, it always sticks me as funny how the more money a manager has the better he seems to be regarded.

    It seems to me that Sterling is a talented player who is developing in his natural trajectory.

    I do like LGB’s comment at 11.58. I don’t share the same level of concern over the integration of the youngsters into the first team as the comment seems to suggest but I do like the general assessment of the young players mentioned.

    I did watch a big chunk of the game yesterday and wish I had taken more notice of Dominique Thompson.

    “Dominic Thompson (who I believe should be our next left back)” LGB

  12. LB says:

    I didn’t realise that Bellerin was a marmite player, I thought everyone loved Hector.

  13. RC78 says:

    Depending on the position, there are some leagues that are more suited for talent development –

    -> Spain and England are great for full-backs
    -> Italy is great for Defenders and Wingers
    -> France is great for defender and midfielder
    -> Netherlands, Germany, Portugal are great for strikers, wingers and full backs

    I think that if we send Nketiah to Portugal for a year, he ll come back more solid. If you send Willock to France, he will also do well.

    The point is that certain league nurture certain qualities so we also have to look outside England and Germany 🙂 Clubs like Rennes, Nice, Lille are great for our young players for examples

  14. LBG says:

    Dominic Thompson is a converted central midfield player with all the skills of that position but both the solid grit AND calm assurity required of full backs in the modern game. I commend him to the House.

  15. chas says:

  16. chas says:


  17. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Last video is mind-boggling

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