A day with ex Man Utd coach Steve Round

Barnaby Read 14:04 22/10/2015
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  • Round enjoyed successful years at Everton.

    Steve Round rose to prominence as David Moyes’ assistant manager at both Everton and then Manchester United.

    Having had his playing career at Derby County cut short, he joined the coaching staff at the Rams where he worked with future England manager Steve McLaren.

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    McLaren appointed him to his back room staff at Middlesbrough and with England before he became first team coach at Newcastle under Sam Allardyce, then Moyes’ assistant at the Toffees.

    He replaced Sir Alex Ferguson’s long-time assistant Mike Phelan at the Red Devils but then left the club following Moyes’ sacking.

    Round is in Dubai running coaching workshops for E-Sports and spoke to Sport360° at SportsMania.

    Round with David Moyes during their short time together at Manchester United.

    Tell us what you’re doing out here in Dubai? 
    I’m with Gareth Morley of E-Sports. I’m doing a masters in sports and directorship at Manchester Business School and he’s one of the students on the course with me. He said he’d like me to come out here to speak to the players and coaches and give some inspiration to the players going forward. 

    Why are you doing that course? 
    I wanted to do something that would stretch me. I’ve been in coaching a long time, I’ve worked for nearly 20 consecutive years in the Premier League at the highest level and I wanted something I could turn to, something different and unique, something that would open my mind and thinking and improve me as a person and a coach.

    Do you now want to be a manager in your own right? 
    Definitely. When I left Manchester United I said I wanted to take a year off. I needed some time out. I needed to take stock. When you’re in it it’s all consuming. Every day it’s intense and you’re on the front line, so I needed to step away from that. I’ve had a couple of opportunities I was very close to getting but didn’t quite get them, but it (management) is the next step for me.

    What do you think the biggest difference between being a coach or assistant and a head coach or manager is? 
    The biggest difference is you’re the key decision-maker in people’s lives. You have to man manage people. It’s all about leading people. 
    When you’re a coach you’re main role is to improve that player as a footballer. When you’re a manager you have to win on Saturday.  You’ve got to manage above. You have to manage media, transfers, talk to the chairman, there’s a lot more aspects to it other than performance. 

    You’ve been quite loyal to the likes of Sam Allardyce, Steve McLaren and David Moyes. Is it important for managers to have people like that around them? 
    Getting a really good number two is very important. I hold loyalty, ethics and morals very high and the people I’ve worked for have been the same. They’ve been great relationships with some top managers. The likes of David, Sam, Steve, as well as Kevin Keegan, Jim Smith, Terry Venables – these are all good people who I have tremendous respect for. 

    What went wrong for you as a coaching team at Manchester United? 
    They didn’t give us enough time. It was always going to be difficult following Sir Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex is such an iconic manager, arguably the greatest manager that’s ever lived. To follow him was always going to take time. I have to say I loved it there. It’s a great football club. 
    We just didn’t quite get enough time. I think I saw a stat after 50 games where David and Louis van Gaal had a very similar record. Louis has spent a bit more money and had a little bit more time. Other than that I’ve got no complaints. At the end of the day you’ve’ got to win football matches and if you don’t then you don’t keep your job. We didn’t win enough football matches.

    Is it disappointing looking back? 
    No. It might have been at one time but I’ve moved on from United now. I wish them all the best. It’s a great club and needs to be at the top of the tree both domestically and in the Champions League. I have no grudges against Manchester United at all. I wish them every success and I hope they win the league this year and the Champions League. 

    David Moyes has gone on to Real Sociedad. Was there scope to join him? 
    He asked me if I’d be interested at one stage but he knew I wanted to take that year off and I told him I wasn’t going back no matter what opportunity came up. I promised that to the family. I was out there the other week watching them against Athletic Bilbao in the Basque derby and I really enjoyed it. The team hasn’t started as well as he would have liked. He’s been disappointed in the results but he thinks the team’s playing okay and that it’ll turn.

    Do you think results will turn around?
    Yes, definitely. He’s a top manager. It’s quite difficult because there’s certain rules with Basque players and you have to recruit from your own area, which puts you at a bit of a disadvantage, but he’s got the basis of a good team. They’re never going to go and win the league but they’re always going to be competitive, and I think he’ll get them there eventually this season.

    Phil Neville’s gone out there. Do you think more British coaches should go and test themselves?
    Why not? There’s a lot of foreign coaches in the Premier League and Championship and there’s no reason to stop us going. We can be quite insular at time in the UK. A lot of it’s down to the language aspect. They learn English in school abroad and it’s their second language. Jurgen Klopp’s just come over and speaks English brilliantly, better than most English people, whereas we don’t tend to learn other languages. I would definitely promote it. It’ll always help you in the long run.

    Have you ever been tempted by the Arabian Gulf League? 
    Yes I have. There’s a really good standard and it’s getting better. You’re starting to get Middle Eastern players and African players transcending and I think it’s improving year on year. I’m waiting for the right opportunity and when it comes up I’ll go for it.  That might be abroad. There’s the MLS which is getting better and better, there’s all of Europe and even the Middle East, too, which is getting stronger and stronger. There’s a lot of things I’m looking at.