Warner’s perfect fit for Blackpool

Blackpool's Tony Warner
Blackpool's Tony Warner
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Tony Warner says Blackpool has been the perfect place for him to make the step from player to coach.

The former Liverpool, Fulham and Millwall man finally hung up his gloves last summer after making more than 300 league appearances for 16 different clubs.

He was delighted to take a call from former team mate Paul Ince about the vacant role at Bloomfield Road.

“I spoke to the manager in the summer and he told me there was a position available,” he said.

“I felt the time was right for me to get into this side of the game.

“I’m based in Liverpool too, which is only an hour away, so everything was just perfect for me really.

“I worked under some brilliant managers in my playing career and I’d like to think I’ve picked up a lot from them.

“So coaching is something I always thought I’d be able to turn my hand to quite easily.

“I always wanted to go on to be a goal keeping coach.

“I knew the Gaffer from our days at Liverpool, and Alex Rae from playing against him.”It’s gone well.

“There are certain things that get put in front of you as a coach which I’ve had to address, but that’s all part of the job.

“It’s been a joy to work with Mark Halstead and Matt Gilks.

“It’s interesting because I don’t work with all the kids, I work just with Mark and Matt, so it’s been a nice introduction for me.”

Warner’s spell at Blackpool has been an interesting one already, with the 39-year-old recently being asked to lace up his boots to make a playing return.

After injury to Mark Halstead Pool were left with no back-up keeper, and Warner was only too willing to dig his gloves out at sign on.

He said: “It was a little bit of a shock.

“It had been mentioned, but I didn’t really expect it to happen.

“I train with the lads now and again and I’m happy to step in and help them out.

“I’m back playing again, it’s good!

“The lads are great lads and I get involved in training.

“It’s a good place to be here at Blackpool.

“I have the experienced of being on the bench and having to come on in big games so it wouldn’t be a problem for me.

“I played up until last year so there would be no worry if I’m needed.

“I’m probably not as sharp as I was in my prime, but as far as stepping in off the bench it wouldn’t be a problem.”

Many players find it difficult when hanging up their boots, but moving into coaching is something Warner says has really helped him.

“I haven’t had a problem with making the step from being a player to staff.

“At Blackpool there isn’t much of a divide.

“The staff are based with the team so it’s been easy.

“Lads have problems when they retire and find themselves sitting at home a lot.

“That’s when their minds can wander and they aren’t particularly happy.

“I feel like a player here, even though I’m part of the staff.”

Warner’s main role at Blackpool has been to work alongside Matt Gilks.

Pool’s number one has been in superb form this season, picking up a couple of man of the match awards along the way.

Warner added: “I’ve been so impressed with Matt Gilks.

“He’s such a hard worker and a really good goalkeeper as well.

“It’s been there for everyone to see this season, he’s got a lot of quality.

“Matt’s made it easy for me to step into coaching.”