Date:Sunday September 24 2006
Prior to the match with Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers manager Mark Hughes would have some words of encouragement, advice even for his Boro counterpart Gareth Southgate.
With Southgate taking over the reigns at the Riverside in the summer following Steve McLaren taking over as manager of England Southgate has had a tough time of things, but Hughes knows all to well from his own experiences what it is like to make the transition from player to manager:
"It is early days in Gareth Southgate's managerial career, he'll be wanting to nail down his thoughts and his ideas on how the team should shape up and what he is trying to achieve with them.
"It is early for him so results may be a little bit up and down in the early stages, but he has a good squad to work with and you would feel that at some point in the season it will come good for him."
Having made the giant leap from player to manager of an International side when taking over as Wales, whilst still combining a playing role at club level Hughes knows all two well what it is like, and what you have to go through, adding:
"I had a similar situation when I went from being an international player to becoming an international manager and guys that you are playing alongside and working hard with and having a laugh and a joke with, then all of a sudden instead of sitting at the back of the bus criticising the manager you have to sit up the front and you are the manager.
"So it is difficult, it is probably as difficult for the players as it is for you making the transition. So you have to get it right, you can't change your personality completely because the players won't accept that.
"You have to be yourself and then hope that the things that you are telling them are things that they can believe in and understand. That is the key to it really."
Although Southgate hasn't officially retired as a player, having had a playing career spanning almost two decades in which he won 57 International caps with England being a part of squads to feature in four major International tournaments Hughes thinks Southgate has all the necessary ingredients to succeed:
"He's been skipper of his club, been an international, so has great standing in the game as a player. What he will find is that won't hold too much sway in the months ahead.
"He will have to prove himself and people will have to buy into what he is saying, but that's to come for him."
Thankfully from a Rovers point of view Southgate wasn't able to succeed against Rovers on Saturday afternoon, but I for one, who always rated Southgate as a player, will wish him all the very best of luck for his time with Boro, and whomever else may follow in the future.
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Date:Sunday September 24 2006
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