Azkals captain Phil Younghusband excited to learn from new coach
“More than anything I’m excited to learn from him and be educated, especially from someone who I grew up watching.” - Phil Younghusband
Thursday evening, as the 2018 FIFA World Cup commenced in Russia, there was also a new beginning back home in the Philippines, with the hopes of one day also qualifying for the biggest stage in football.
With around five months to go before their next major tournament, the AFF Suzuki Cup, the Philippine Azkals announced a brand new coaching staff, led by former England captain and new Philippine National Team head coach Terry Butcher.
Butcher, who will be replacing Thomas Dooley, donned England’s colors for a decade, which included 77 caps and three World Cup appearances.
And as a new era begins in Philippine football, the Azkals’ own team captain was nothing short of excited to be able to play for a compatriot of sorts.
“Very proud, I’m looking forward to learning, being educated by someone who’s played at such a high level.” the Fil-British star told the media at Thursday’s press launch. “Other than the England team in 1966, he was part of the team that got the furthest, making it into the semifinals, unfortunately losing to Germany on penalties, he’s played at the highest level against the best players in the world, he would know what to do when coming up against high level players.”
For Younghusband, who was born and grew up in England, being able to learn from someone who he admired as a child is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“More than anything I’m excited to learn from him and be educated, especially from someone who I grew up watching.”
From a personal standpoint, impressing the new guy calling the shots is a must for Younghusband. Having seen a number of coaches come and go, the team captain admits that familiarity is the challenge everytime someone new takes over the reins of control.
“I think it’s not knowing, you’re wondering what the coach is thinking about you. Obviously you want to impress him, you want to show him what a good player you are, but there’s always that doubt in your head, does he think I’m a good player? Does he know I’m a good player? Does he know about the things I’ve done well in the past?”
“That little bit of doubt can creep in, but it can work the other way as well. It can be a fresh new start, I can show the new coach what a good player I am. I’m sure that would be the case for most of us.” Younghusband added.
With roughly five months to go before the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup and seven months to go before the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, it’ll be time for the Azkals to get back to work real soon.
According to team manager Dan Palami, training camp begins in Bahrain this September.
For Younghusband, chemistry shouldn’t be too much of an issue, especially with Coach Terry and Senior Football Adviser Scott Cooper coming in.
“Pretty much most of the players are the same, obviously there will be a few new players coming in, but the chemistry within the team will be the same.” Younghusband said. “With the sort of level that Scott [Cooper] and Terry have coached at, they’re used to coming into teams and making sure that the teams jell quickly and understand each other and understand their way of coaching.”