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Wednesday, 28 March 2007


Mark Platt 28 March 2007

In an exclusive in-depth interview, former Reds defender Gary Ablett talks about how he's settled into his new role as Liverpool reserve team manager.

Gary Ablett Big Interview

Gary, eight months into the job, how's it going?

I came into the job with my eyes wide open and not really knowing what to expect but I've settled in really well and I'm enjoying it immensely. I'm working with good people. Hughie (McAuley), on the football side, and Antonio (Gomez), on the fitness side, have been a great help, their advice has been tremendous and I've been very lucky in that respect. Hughie, in particular, has been here a long time and knows the job inside out, while Antonio's physical programme is really starting to pay dividends with the young lads now. Everything seems to have gone smoothly so far and hopefully it will continue that way.

Is it what you expected?

I'd say it's probably everything and more. Just being around the place and working in such a wonderful environment is an experience in itself. Talking and listening to the likes of Rafa and Pako on a daily basis and watching them out on the training field is something you can only learn from.

When you sent in your CV to Rafa, was it more in hope than expectation?

Without a doubt, yes. I only got to hear about the vacancy during a chance conversation with a local journalist I knew from my playing days and it was he who encouraged me to apply. My initial thoughts were that they'd be looking for someone more high-profile and I dismissed the idea. But he then went on to explain a bit more and I thought 'why not?' As a boyhood Liverpudlian and former player, I know all about the history and traditions of this place and felt that having worked at the Everton Academy I had a lot to offer. So I sent off my application, more in hope than expectation as you say, got a reply and the rest is history

You said your first meeting with the boss was fascinating, can you expand on this?

It was just a real eye-opener. He questioned me about my background, coaching in general and what I'd been up to with Everton for the previous three to four years. He then got the tactics board out and I was asked to solve some hypothetical problems. It was a quite intense two hours. He really grilled me but at the same time I enjoyed it.

I was invited back for a second interview and asked to submit a small programme/plan for the following season. You only get one chance at a job like this though and I was determined not to mess up so I sat down at the computer and ended up with a seven page report! There was no way I could have went in with it all written down on the back of a beer mat!

I was quite nervous and not sure how it had gone but later that night when I took a step back and reflected on our meeting I started to think that it had gone well. From our conversation it became clear that we shared the same basic principles and that the role was a developmental one, working with young players and preparing them for the first team.

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