DAVID Connolly stresses he has no intention of being one of those coaches who pulls on his playing boots to get involved in training sessions.
Connolly is coaching the U18s with Larry McAvoy but says he will keep a professional distance on the training ground.
Football is littered with cases of managers being unable to hang up their boots completely and having to talk their way out of some awkward situations after problems with players.
In 2004 Graeme Souness insisted he would not stop competing against his players despite a bust-up with Dwight Yorke after the pair had traded ferocious tackles at Blackburn, while then Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy was forced to deny he was responsible for breaking his player Colin Healy’s leg in one training session.
But former Ireland international Connolly, who retired last season, says he will never be in those kinds of positions.
“I’m 38 now and I can sleep well at night knowing I never left anything on the training pitch,” he stressed. “I left nothing on the football pitch. I couldn’t have given any more.
“I had a long career and sometimes you have to know when to stop. I love football and coaching, but I don’t hanker after playing.
“Personally, I never enjoyed it when I was a player and coaches started joining in with the sessions. But I think that’s gone now and it’s all about trying to make the players look good, not making you look good.
“I’m just looking now to help what will hopefully be the stars of tomorrow.”
The former Watford and West Ham player made a high-profile move to Feyenoord in 1997 where he played in the Champions League but says there are different routes to the top and he won’t be telling his players it’s all or nothing at such a delicate age.
“There are lots of ways you can make it in football. I played European football at 20 but I also played with Rickie Lambert who didn’t get to the top level until he was 28 or 29.
“There are different ways to skin a cat, no one way is best.
“Just because it hasn’t happened at 18 or 19 doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. But they have to have the right balance off the pitch as well.
“They have to live well, eat well and if they do that then in the end the ability will come out.”