The lads have gone back to school over the past couple of months.
Kal Naismith is probably the class clown with his banter, but it’s all for a good cause after we finished our coaching badges this week.
There’s been myself, Danny Rose, Michael Doyle, Enda Stevens, Curtis Main, Drew Talbot, Christian Burgess and Kal all doing our FA Level 2 qualifications.
We’re in the classroom during the day and then go out doing the practical stuff with the younger Academy lads.
It can be a bit of a killer doing it on your day off all day, but it’s definitely been worthwhile.
It’s the same as anything. It can be a struggle for a lot of people to go to the gym, but once you get yourself off your backside you’re there and you enjoy it. You make the commitment, and you end up looking forward it.
You always think there are players you can see going down the coaching and managerial road. Out of the lads at Pompey, I’d say the three who stood out were Michael Doyle, Danny Rose and Christian Burgess.
Doyler has a lot of experience and has played a lot of games, Rosey is a sensible lad and knows where he wants to go, and it’s similar with Burge.
Some of the others, I’m not quite sure about!
Kal’s banter is brilliant in the classroom, but I don’t know if I’d be pushing my kids to go on a coaching session with Naisy!
Seriously, though, the sessions he put on were good fun and you got the laughs as well.
Former striker Iffy Onoura was the man taking the course. We had to start off pretty basic with 10-minute sessions and then progress into it being more matchplay and what would happen in games.
You end up remembering what you’ve done in your career, but then you add stuff off-the-cuff from what you see in the sessions.
We were really lucky in the final practical because the under-15 and 16s were off as it was half-term.
The kids were absolutely fantastic and the standard was really high.
At first we thought the sessions may have been too difficult for them. But these kids were class and popping it about. There were bullet-points in your mind you wanted to stop the session to show, but these kids were doing it anyway!
Doyler was doing support-play in one and wanted to stop it to tell the lads to overlap and do one-touch triangles. As soon as the session started they were doing it anyway, so he was just stood there!
It’s never been in my mind really to be a coach or manager. But with these qualifications, it’s a chance to get them and keep your options open.
If you’d said to me seven weeks ago were I interested in going down that road, I would have said no.
Doing this qualification, though, has opened my mind and I think now it’s something I can see myself doing in the future.
I’m certainly taking advantage of what’s on offer at this club – so you never know where you could end up seeing me in a few years!
I’ve been in football 16 years since I left school. I can’t see myself doing many other jobs, so hopefully I’ve got something to offer.
Put it this way, I can’t see me being a pundit. I think one Scouse accent is another with Jamie Carragher doing his bit on Sky Sports!
The above words are from Carl Baker’s column in The Sports Mail.