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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

Lessons new & old for Robbie Fowler roadmap

The former Liverpool striker says he is ready to test himself against other managers, drawing strength from all the best things he learnt from his coaches

Arindam Bandyopadhyay Calcutta Published 29.10.20, 03:03 AM
Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler Picture: a-league.com.au

Life during quarantine is all about football for SC East Bengal’s newly appointed coach Robbie Fowler.

The former England and Liverpool forward, who arrived in Goa on October 16 and is under the 14-day mandatory quarantine period, is busy doing preparatory work and is spending time studying his opposition in the Indian top flight.

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SC East Bengal made a late entry to the Indian Super League, which starts on November 20 in Goa.

Fowler says he is ready to test himself against other managers of the league, drawing lessons from the various coaches he played under during his playing days.

“I am willing to test myself against all kinds of managers and coaches. I know what type of player I have been. I have known various types of managers I have played under. Some managers come with ideas, and some come with distinct philosophies. I’ll take a little bit from the managers I have known, particularly from those who are tactically very good. I have seen some very good management styles, too. I’ll try to emulate all the best practices that have influenced me positively,” Fowler told The Telegraph from Goa on Wednesday.

Fowler said he enjoyed playing under Roy Evans during his Liverpool days. “I always enjoyed playing under Roy Evans, who was my manager at Liverpool. He was tactically very gifted. Then there was Gerard Houllier. His man-management skills were incredibly good. I am a big believer in being the right man-manager for the players. Rafael Benitez is one of my favourites too.”

Fowler revealed he hasn’t set any target for SC East Bengal yet. “Well, no, not exactly a target. We know we are far behind a lot of teams. I know that the preparations we have had are not ideal. It is something that we have accepted, something that we will adapt to. I will have to do a lot of work during training, to get the players up to speed as soon as possible. We will create a good team spirit. It is important to get going in right earnest. It is important to work out the right combination,” he said.

The 45-year-old is happy with the squad he has got. “There are a lot of players we have brought in. Rennedy Singh, a former Indian international and one of our coaches, had been advising me about the potential of various players. I was quite impressed by his inputs. We have to get up to speed with the local players. I have seen some videos and I am hoping to meet them at the earliest.”

Fowler also thinks domestic players need to work on tactical aspects. “From my experience of coaching Thailand’s Muangthong United, I can say Asian players are technically very good. But there is room for improvement when it comes to tactical understanding,” he said.

Fowler took a strong political stand by lending support to Liverpool dockworkers in the late nineties. “Whether we like it or not, people like to associate stars with positive examples. People treat them as leaders of society. People listen to what they say. Whether we like it or not, we are voices of the people. If you believe, as a player, that your thoughts and ideas can influence a lot of people, then you can use it to your advantage. What’s wrong if you can use your celebrity status to help a few people? If that involves speaking in favour of the disadvantaged, why can’t we do it?” he said.

Fowler also likes the way players are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. “Well, not every player used to speak out for public causes. Now, thankfully, the world has changed for the better... Whatever they do or say now has greater impact on everyday lives. If more players are taking initiatives to make the world a better place, it can only be a more positive development,” he said.

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