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The Big Interview - David Williams

11 February 2013

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Rovers Player caught up with new Assistant Manager David Williams about his move to Doncaster

Welcome to Doncaster Rovers, What made you come here in the first place?

Well I’ve known Brian for a long time; we were working for several years with Wales. With what they call the intermediate teams, the 21’s, 19’s, 17’s and that was a good working relationship.

Unfortunately I thought the Welsh FA made a very poor decision and Brian was relieved of his duties nearly 12 months ago now. That obviously left me out of football which was something that, at first, I wasn’t too concerned about because I’d actually semi-retired in 2007. 

When he came on to me and told me there was a possibility he was going to be put in charge of the club for a period of time, and whether I would I fancy coming to the end of the season I said yes I’ll take it on.

So there was never any doubt about swapping the golf course or the beach?

It’s one of those things that you have to make a yes or a no decision and I think I would have regretted saying no. I’ve come back into the game again now to see if the buzz is still there and see how I get on with it - so far so good.

How has the first week been for you?

It’s been very good, I’ve been very impressed with everything that I’ve come across, the players have been very responsive, they work hard and they are a good group.  The facilities here are very good, I went to the Keepmoat the other night for the England game and had a look round there and you can’t help be impressed with that - all in all very good.

You’ve talked about your connection to Brian in the Welsh set up but you’ve got quite a big back catalogue in terms of the teams you’ve coached haven’t you?

Yes, I think football very often throws up people that are nomadic, you get around a little bit and I’ve lived over in East Anglia and the South coast in Bournemouth and eventually funnily enough I’ve settled just up the road in Harrogate. 

I had a spell at Leeds United for 2 years , but you do, you get round the clubs a little bit and I’ve had some international experience as well with the senior team as well as the teams I worked with Brian, so I’ve been around the block a couple of times. 

Manchester United as well I understand? 

Yes I had 5 years at Manchester United as a youth team coach. 

So any of the current crop, that you may have worked with, that people would know?

Some of them are there and some have moved on, Darren Fletcher would probably be the one who is there at the moment who most people would know, but you could go through a whole list of names, O’Shea and Ritchie Wellens who was here, Wes Brown, David Healy, Kieran Richardson, it’s amazing you forget at times until you see a team play and then you see a team sheet and think ‘Oh yeah’. 

But football is like that generally, you mix and match, it’s like a small village and you come across people all the time. 

Are there any reunions at Rovers you’ve come across yet?

Well Chris Brown was down at Norwich, when I was down there in 04 to 07, I was working with the youth team again there, I came across him around the club but he was one of the seniors obviously with the first team. David Cotterill as well, he was with the Welsh team with Brian and I, so those are the two that I would probably know the most. 

So with you, would you say your passion is youth development?

No not really, the first youth team job I took was at Manchester United and I had 5 years there and then I went back into youth team football for three seasons at Norwich but prior to that I had been player/manager at Bristol Rovers at 28 and I’d always worked at senior level with the first team and that was the case at Bournemouth and at Everton and at Leeds so I’d always worked with senior players. 

I’ve had a lot of experience at senior level but perhaps not for a long time now.

People talk about modern day football, in your opinion is it still the same game? 

The group of players we have here at the moment, if you think of them being in the third tier of English football, they are better players now then the third tier of English football that I can remember. I think things have moved on, they are fitter they’re stronger, they’re quicker, technically better, so I think there has been quite an advancement yes.

That’s probably more to do with the background support and the nutrition and that kind of thing?

Yes, I think Brian and I would have a laugh from time to time about the things with Wales because we remember it as players when there was a manager and an assistant and maybe a physio. 

When we used to travel there was people all over the place, which was good of course it was the right way to go, and I think it’s the same at club level now you get people who help out with the sport science and people who do the weights and a goalkeeping coach. All these are positions now that at one time were never filled. 

What about the fact that you’re coming into a team that is gunning for promotion; it must be quite a nice carrot to have dangled as well?

Of course, you’d rather come in with a club that is at the top end of the table rather than with somebody that is struggling but it is an unusual position as I’m sure Brian admitted himself. 

Most clubs that change their manager its when there is a problem, so whoever comes in has got to deal with those problems and sort them out, obviously it’s a different situation here, Dean has done a good job in getting this team towards the top of the table and hopefully we can help push them over the final finishing line over the next few weeks. 

How does it work on the training ground with you and Brian, who’s doing the work and which type of work?

Brian has been happy for me to come in and just get on with it really, and that might be just because its important for me to get to know the players as early as possible. We had a good relationship obviously in the past with Wales, he knows what I can deliver on the training ground, I know what he can do on the training ground, and between us we’ll sort that out.

You’ve talked about your experience of working with young players, what is your impression of the young players that are here?

The one’s that I have come across are the one’s that are up with the senior squad. They are young players but they are up with the senior squad and they have fitted in very well. They don’t stand out as young players in the way that they might be a bit naïve or so on. They have mixed in very well. If you’d asked me if I’d watched them or worked with them I possibly wouldn’t have been able to pick out the one’s who were considered the young players. 

As for the actual group of youth team players or scholars, it is too early for me to comment on those, but the one’s that are working in the first team group look good.

Would you like to work with the younger players as this job goes on?

No, I think the thing that has tempted me back a little bit is working at first team level, so I think that’s probably where I’ll keep myself. 

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