'It's a big adaption' - Gerard Nash on early retirement and his Ipswich Town coaching rise
PUBLISHED: 13:55 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:55 20 April 2018
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Gerard Nash isn't sure what's next for him following his rise to temporary assistant boss.
The Irish defender joined Ipswich Town as a 15-year-old, but injuries cut short his promising career before his 20th birthday.
Instead, the Blues developed Nash as a coach and now, aged 31, he has been selected by caretaker boss Bryan Klug to assist him, along with fellow young coach Chris Hogg, with the first team between now and the end of the season.
“My playing days were a long time ago,” said Nash, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Championship visit of promotion-chasing Aston Villa.
“It is what it is; I didn’t make it; I wasn’t good enough. I had injuries, lots of people do, and I moved on from that. My life then became about trying to be the best coach I can be.
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“It was Jim Magilton and Bryan Klug in charge at the time, with Tony Humes and Richard Hall working in the academy, and those four people were very good to me during that period and got me down the coaching route.
“I came to the club when Bryan was the academy manager. He’s been a mentor for me for a number of years and has played a huge part in my development as a coach, as he has with a lot of coaches at the club.
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“I was very young starting. I’ve worked through the age groups in all the roles. I suppose I have gained good experience for someone of my age and it has hopefully given me a head start on other young coaches.
“I was having a chat with (captain) Luke Chambers and he was asking me about my playing days. I said to him ‘I can barely remember’. Luke and I are a similar age and he’ll have all that to go through when he finishes playing. It will be tough for him because it’s a big adaption.”
Having been temporarily promoted from his role as Under-23 boss, Nash – who cut an energetic and passionate figure on the sidelines during last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest – was asked if he sees himself in first-team management one day.
“I don’t know is the honest answer,” he said. “Two weeks ago it wasn’t something that I was thinking about. My job has always been to work with young players to the best of my ability – that’s what I’ve always tried to do and always been thinking about.
“It was surreal last Saturday. All I am trying to focus on is trying to be the best coach I can be.”
Quizzed whether the club’s next manager may want to bring in their own staff, he replied: “I don’t know is the answer to that. To be honest, is it something that I am worried about? No, not really.
“I’m not worried about my future here per se because all I am focused on is for us to be together as a club for two or three weeks and then hopefully we can start next season in the best possible shape.
“The likes of Will Stephenson (analyst), Malcolm Webster (keeper coach), Andy Liddell (fitness coach) are key staff and they are still here, so that’s helped with the continuity.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for Chris and I and it’s probably only in a few weeks, when the season has ended, that we’ll be able to really reflect on it.”
The only member of staff likely to follow Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor out the Portman Road exit door is director of football / chief scout Dave Bowman – a man who has worked with McCarthy in all five of his managerial jobs.