Nick Kennedy and the London Irish coaches will get an exclusive insight into what makes Pep Guardiola one of the world’s top managers after being invited watch Manchester City train.
Kennedy, the Irish director of rugby, plus coaches Declan Danaher, Paul Hodgson and George Skivington will then sit down with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager to discuss the coaching and management philosophy they hope can boost their bid to keep the Exiles in the Premiership this season. Guardiola won 14 trophies in the first four years of his career in management, including winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League in his first season with Barcelona.
Eddie Jones , the England head coach, watched Guardiola take charge of a training session while he was at Bayern Munich and credits the Spaniard for fundamentally changing his own attitude to dealing with players. Now, Kennedy and the Irish coaches are hoping to similarly inspired and this visit is just the latest to involve major teams from outside rugby. The Irish coaches have previously spent time with the England rugby team, England hockey squad as well as visiting Arsenal and Chelsea’s training camps.
Newly promoted Irish have a difficult away game against Sale on Friday night and Kennedy, the coaches and players are travelling up tomorrow to link up with Guardiola at City’s Friday training session in the build up to their Premier league clash at Watford on Saturday. City, who play Feyenoord tonight, hammered Liverpool 5-0 last weekend while Irish were losing at Champions Exeter Chiefs 37-7 which brought them back down to earth after the win over Harlequins at Twickenham.
Kennedy is understandably delighted to be meeting one of the world’s top football managers and told Standard Sport;” We are going to meet Pep to talk about coaching on Friday and it came about through a friend of a friend. We will watch training and then he has been generous enough to give us some time afterwards to talk about coaching squads of elite athletes. We have an awful lot to learn from him and I know that Eddie Jones learnt so much from the energy that Pep gives and the communication in different languages in a session.
“We have spent time with England rugby and hockey, Chelsea and Arsenal because we are young coaches and try and learn as much as possible because we need to be getting better. We have three hours on the bus up to Manchester to discuss the questions we want to ask him.
“Playing at Sale on a Friday night is a tough one and they had good home record last season although they lost a tight match at Sale against Newcastle a week ago. Steve Diamond ( Sale coach) is a great motivator and will have his team up for the match. We are going to have to play at a very high level to get a positive result. We have learnt a lot from both games so far in the Premiership and Exeter played the conditions really well but we haven’t come away with our confidence having been knocked”.
Kennedy is also hoping to get some tips to boost the performance as manager of his fantasy football team at Irish having won the competition last season.” I am disappointingly mid-table at the moment;” he added.