Dyer Departs But Still Aims to Become Blues Boss
Thursday, 8th Aug 2019 09:00
Kieron Dyer is leaving his role as Town’s U18s assistant manager but says he still ultimately aims to become boss at Portman Road. The former England midfielder told TWTD why he is going elsewhere as he continues to learn his trade.
“Why am I moving on? It’s a question I’ve been getting asked quite a bit lately,” the 40-year-old said.
“Obviously I’m very ambitious, I want to be be a manager one day or a number two in a first-team environment.
“And being an assistant youth team manager is not really going to boost my CV. There’s a lot of people high up in the football club who say that they see me as a future Ipswich Town manager, but if I want to be an Ipswich Town manager one day I’ve got to get out there and get experience on my CV.
“Being an assistant youth team manager is not going to get me a job at senior level, in my opinion, so that’s why I’m going to leave the club and try and do men’s football, whether that’s in an U23 environment or getting in with a first team, then that’s the way I’ve got to go.”
After hanging up his boots in 2013 Ipswich-born Dyer said he ultimately wanted to manage Town and that remains his target.
“Yes, unless I do a Lamps and go straight to a Premier League club earning 150 grand a week! I think I might bypass Ipswich then,” he joked.
“But that’s another reason I’m ambitious, people talk about new blood and a new era and you look at all the players that I’ve played with in my era.
“You look at Joey Barton at Fleetwood, Jonathan Woodgate, one of my good friends who I speak to every day, at Middlesbrough, Sol Campbell at Macclesfield, Lee Bowyer, another of my associates, at Charlton, Lamps at Chelsea, Stevie G with Rangers, Scott Parker at Fulham.
“It’s like our era and when I see that it kind of gets you going, you want to be a part of that, you want the opportunity.
“And again, it’s no disrespect, I’m not saying I’m too big for the U18s, of course I’m not too big, I’m starting out.
“But my aim is to be in first team football and I just think that me being an assistant U18s coach, whenever jobs become available or I put my name in for jobs, I think I will have a better chance if I’m working with a first team or working with U23s rather than being an assistant U18s coach. And that’s all it is.
“For example, if Paul Lambert were to leave tomorrow and I was to put my CV in with Ipswich and [owner] Marcus [Evans] is interviewing me and going through my experience and I say I’m an assistant U18s manager, I don't really think I’d get the job.”
He added: “Your first job is your most important job. To be honest I feel that I could manage a first team now, but that’s just me being confident and obviously my experience of working with a lot of top managers and top coaches and trying to pick what I’ve taken from them. I do feel that I can.
“But an owner’s not going really take a chance unless you're out there doing it and proving that you can, so that’s why I’m leaving the club.”
The 33-times-capped midfielder says there has already been interest from other clubs, confirming that Cardiff offered him a role working with their U23s earlier in the summer.
“I’ve had a couple of offers, I think you wrote about Cardiff, that was an option which I turned down,” he continued.
“I’ve also got an offer abroad which I haven’t decided on yet but if I turn that down then people will say ‘It’s silly that you’re out of a job’ but I don’t think it would be because in my spare time I’ll go and visit clubs all around the country and abroad and see how their first teams work and spend a week with the football club.
“I did something similar with Tony Mowbray and Blackburn a couple of years ago where he gave me all areas access and let me into team meetings and let me into his scouting meetings and let me see how he worked and how he set up his team.
“I’m lucky that I’ve got good contacts in the game and I played at a decent level so that I will be getting access to clubs home and abroad and I’ll go to clubs and see different training methods, how different managers work and try and be a sponge and try to absorb all this knowledge.
“Even if for the next few months I haven’t got a job I think I’ll still gain more experience going to clubs and seeing how they work than, no disrespect, if I was just doing kids’ football.”
He admits it’s a wrench to leave his hometown club where he came through the ranks as a player but fully expects to to be back.
“Yes, obviously Ipswich is my club but the way I see it is hopefully it’s like a loan move,” he said.
“It’s like I’m a young kid coming through who thinks he’s good enough to be in the first team, the manager and the owners don’t think he is yet so they send him out on loan to get some experience.
“Hopefully I’ll go out and get experience, whether it’s at senior level or U23 level, and then maybe in two or three years I can come back and there’ll be a role for me at the club.
“Obviously one of the things at Ipswich, I thought there was a pathway but if you look at it, the manager’s got his own first-team staff, and there's nothing wrong with that, if I was a first-team manager I’d want my own staff, I wouldn’t want to be told who could be my staff, you have to have people you can trust and people that you are comfortable with.
“And if you look at the U23s they’ve got Nashy [Gerard Nash] and Hoggy [Chris Hogg], so the club have got staff in those positions and just because I’m an ex-player or I’ve played for England, I haven’t got a divine right to demand one of these places, so that’s why I’m happy to go and learn my trade elsewhere.”
Dyer, who has also sponsored academy teams, says he’s got on well with manager Paul Lambert: “The gaffer's been fine with me, his priority is obviously promotion and trying to get some money out of the owner, so he’s got more important things to worry about than me and academy things.
“But by the time this article comes out I will probably will have had a word with the manager.
“The manager knows his stuff, he’s a good coach, he’s played at the top level, he's worked under fantastic managers and coaches. We've started off with a great result and I’m sure we’ll do well this season.”
Dyer has coached the U18s alongside manager Adem Atay for the last two seasons, the pair having run the U16s during the previous campaign.
The former Westbourne High School pupil also spent an earlier year in charge of the U16s prior to a spell working in the media and appearing on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!.
Dyer and Atay saw the U18s to second in the Professional Development League Two South table in 2018/19, while a number of players progressed into the first-team squad.
“I joked with Ads [Atay] that we had our best ever finish in the youth team last season so I said ‘Good luck topping that without me!’ and he laughed,” Dyer added.
“We had a very good bunch that year, as you can see with the number of people in the first team squads. I think Bailey [Clements], Dobs [Armando Dobra] and Iddy [Idris El Mizouni] were all on the bench [at Burton] on Saturday, which shows how strong our youth team was last year.
“I hate that people think it's down to the coaches and the managers, but it's all down to the players. We just give them a bit of guidance and a little bit of help. We can help them five or 10 per cent but at least 85, 90 per cent it’s down to the players.
“I don’t want to take any credit for how they did last season, the players deserve all the credit.”
Probably the standout performer last season was 18-year-old El Mizouni, who went from the U18s into the U23s, then the first team and by the summer was a full international with Tunisia. Dyer says he and Atay feel they found a role for the Paris-born midfielder.
“Iddy was a bit of a versatile player, he played central defensive midfielder, if they played three at the back he played as a right-sided centre-half, as a right-back at stages and one of the first things Adem and I did was to put him as an attacking midfielder and he’s flourished. Maybe we'll take a bit of credit for that!”
The former Newcastle, Middlesbrough, West Ham and QPR man believes there are players in this year’s U18s side who will break into the first team by the end of this season.
“Obviously when I was working at the club you don't like to talk up individuals but now I’m not there I can say that you’ve got Tommy Smith (pictured below) coming through at left-back, I’d even go out on a limb and say he's got a good chance of making his debut before the season finishes at some stage. I’ve never seen the guy have a bad game. I think really highly of him,” he enthused.
“First-year Liam Gibbs has come in, he’s a very exciting player. He’s got a massive future as well, so they’re the two players I’d say to watch out for.
“I could be putting a lot of pressure on Tommy, but I think he’ll handle that. I told him when I left the Holland tour yesterday that I think he’s got a good chance of pushing on and making a debut before the season’s out. I can’t give him any higher praise than that.
“And Liam Gibbs, obviously he’s not ready for the first team yet from a physical point of view but when you’re talking about natural football ability and a football brain and touch and technical ability, he’s a fantastic player, a really good player. He’s versatile but his best position is as a number 10 behind the striker.
“We’ve also got fantastic players in the U15s and U16s, the future’s bright. Hopefully in two or three years’ time when I come back they’ll all be men and I’ll be working with them.”
Dyer says Town tried to persuade him to stay on: “[Academy head of coaching and player development] Bryan [Klug] and [general manager of football operations and academy manager] Lee [O’Neill] didn’t want me to leave,” he said. “They knew at the end of last season that I had doubts about sticking with the U18s.
“They offered me different roles with the club where I’d still be doing the U18s and would maybe go and watch the opposition at the weekend.
“Say if we were playing Burton, for example, I’d go and watch three Burton games and give a match report to the gaffer on how he could play against them.
“They also offered me a role where, say, we were interested in signing James Norwood, I’d go and watch him for a few games to give my feedback on whether I thought he was worth taking a punt on.
“So they tried to give me different roles to stimulate me but, as I said to Lee, I want to be a coach.
“Me going to watch opposition or me going to watch players, yes, it’s a challenge and it’s a different scenario, but that’s not me being on the training pitch and learning how to be a manager or how to coach a team.”
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