Why Liam Rosenior felt it was always his 'calling' to become a number one - ahead of prospective Blackpool move

It was always Liam Rosenior’s dream to become a number one, something he realised from a very young age.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 9:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 11:58 am

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The son of former Brentford and Torquay United manager Leroy, perhaps it was always the 37-year-old’s destiny to enter into coaching, but as yet he’s never been the main man.

But, having been strongly linked with the current Blackpool vacancy, that could soon change.

Liam has previously described his father as his “hero” and, along with his younger brother Darren, would often join his Dad while he coached in Gloucestershire with Gloucester City and Bristol City’s reserve team.

The former defender would even sit in the dugout and experience his team-talks in the changing room.

“You see old pictures of Brian Clough on the bench with his son, Nigel. Well, it was the same with me,” Rosenior told The Athletic during an interview in 2020.

“I’d be shouting at the players from the sidelines when I was 10. It’s always been in my blood.”

Rosenior is an articulate and well-spoken individual who believes becoming a manager was always his "calling" in life

Rosenior believes management has always been his “calling”, even coming before being a footballer.

“My Dad asked Darren and me what we saw ourselves doing in the future, and I’d drawn myself on the touchline as a manager. Not as a player. As a manager,” he added.

“That’s why, to me, it feels like my calling, my goal in life. And not just to be a manager, but a successful manager.

“I’ve prepared pretty much my whole life, as best I can, to be in this situation. My Dad always said he’d keep the picture until I realised my dream, and then dig it out and give it to me.”

Rosenior officially began his coaching journey by becoming the number two to Simon Rusk with Brighton’s Under-23 side in 2018, having just retired from playing with the Seagulls.

He then made the move to Derby County to join Phillip Cocu’s backroom staff, where it’s widely believed he was the most hands-on amongst the team, whether it was delivering video analysis pre-match or overseeing training drills.

When Cocu missed a game after being forced to self-isolate, it was Rosenior who stepped up to man the dugout.

Following Cocu’s departure, Rosenior was formally promoted to number two but it was Wayne Rooney - who has yet to complete all of his coaching badges, unlike Rosenior - who took the main role. Nevertheless, their tactical ideas are closely aligned.

Rosenior would continue to be the more hands-on of the two, taking the vast majority of the training sessions while Rooney would be more of a traditional man-manager.

“Wayne’s intelligent, his input is invaluable” Rosenior said.

“He understands people and, besides, it’s nice to have a player with a million trophies to his name in our number.”

It’s not just his Dad who Liam has taken inspiration from, he’s also relied heavily on his mother, who is a social worker.

It’s believed she’s provided lessons on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) — the practice of scrutinising how people organise their thinking, language and behaviour to produce results - to bolster his communication skills.

While he’s very much a student of the game, his knowledge isn’t limited to football either, having studied coaching techniques and methods from other sports such as American Football and basketball.

In terms of his style, Rosenior insists he won’t “forsake” his principles in the search for immediate results.

He said: “For us as a staff to be ‘pragmatic’ is not to veer from what we believe in - attacking football - but to give a clear structure and plan, and have some strong non-negotiables: winning physical duels, running at a higher intensity than the opposition, being organised from set plays and when we are without the ball. Those are the common denominators.

“From there, I want players to take the ball, express themselves and play. There has to be an element of enjoyment and your philosophy should actually be tailored to that as well.”

Away from his family, Rosenior has also been influenced by the likes of Chris Hughton and Keith Alexander, managers that paved the way for young black coaches.

Nevertheless, the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic managers remains pitifully low on these shores.

Last year, Patrick Vieiria became only the 10th black manager to work in the Premier League since its inception in 1992.

“My job now is to keep pushing down the door so the next generation, my children, can live a better life,” Rosenior explained.

“That’s the only way you make progress. My biggest motivation. It’s about leaving a legacy.

“I want to show that a young black coach - and I want to do it young - can be successful in a position of authority at the very highest level.”