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26SPRING 2010Portsmouth goalkeeper coach David Coles on recruitment, young talent and how match preparation for the senior keepers has changed.David Coles has had the pleasure of working with players such as David James, Antti Niemi and Jamie Ashdown on a daily basis but still gets excited about watching academy matches and coaching young players that show great promise.As the head goalkeeper coach of Premier League club Portsmouth life is not just about keeping his top four keepers match fit, 'Colesy' is very hands on when it comes to the recruitment of players and searching for the up and coming stars."Depending on when the first team play, I like to attended at least 2 matches a week sometimes three if it's possible. I went to Winchester on my way home from training on Sunday to observe our Academy game. I like to watch as many goalkeepers as possible you never know when a star can be on your door step."Coles relies on his worldwide scouts to search the professional leagues and advise him of certain players form but viewing the local talent is more about numbers."The policy I adopted at Southampton has been developed here at Portsmouth. We have set up a development centre and ask local clubs to send us there best two goalkeepers. We offer them a period of free coaching to check on the talent identification in our area, the goalkeepers are divided up into age related groups and worked with on basics to see where their skills are at in relation to our Academy keepers at the club. If we find a youngster that shows real potential then we monitor his progress over a period of four weeks, before integrating him with our Academy structure"Between 7-12 years old I am looking for a player with very raw materials but also someone that enjoys playing in goal. As they move into their teens I like to assess players using the 4 different corners: (1) Psychological (2) Physical (3) Social (4) Technical / Tactical."Being strong in all these areas is a key to being a successful keeper but Coles believes one of these is becoming more important."The personality and social side of a player is key to succeeding in the game. You have to have the right personality and attitude in order to progress. The days of just being technically sound are long gone." An example of this is Asmir Begovic who was developed by Coles over four and a half years at the club, coming through the Academy system to being sold on deadline this year for £3.25 million to Stoke City and Coles thinks they have an absolute steal for the future."I have never come across a goalkeeper as dedicated to goalkeeping as Asmir. We would travel to games with him wanting to talk and observe goalkeeping all the way to games with the reserves and do exactly the same on the way home. He was very knowledgeable on the art and has real desire and passion for his craft." Coles goes on "Asmir is as close as I have ever seen to having all of the four corners. He is one of the examples I will now use to show all our young goalkeepers what they need to possess to succeed in today's ever changing game."Coles also admits that regardless of the individual his work is never finished"I have learnt you never get the finished article, but you will get close to perfection as Recruitment,young talentmatch preparation&I have always said if you are good enough you are old enoughDavid Coles / Image courtesy of Joe Pepler/Portsmouth FCCOACHING CORNER COACHING CORNER COACHING CORNER COACHINGCOACHINGCORNER

SPRING 201027this is what you and the goalkeeper strives for. You as a coach always look to develop and improve the goalkeepers' skills by enhancing both strengths and weaknesses on a daily and weekly basis in training. Having specific individual tailored programmes for goalkeepers is something I will think about and examine in relation to my keepers every time we work together, I then try and spend time on that skill which I feel can be expanded further for his education."Recruiting players in the Premier League is a tough market especially for one of the smaller less affluent clubs such as Portsmouth. The academy is a huge focus for Coles and he prides himself on being able to bring players through this process whether it be for Pompey themselves or for lower league clubs. With a player roster including James and Niemi and with Coles able to offer his expert tuition, Portsmouth offers a young goalkeeper the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and also break into the side if they show the right desire and personality towards the profession. Coles has a very good relationship with David James and likes to use him as an example to his academy players in both talent and application. He often brings the academy along to watch the 1st team train and James has been able to spend time with them and offer up some unique first hand advice. James understands the importance of the academy and shocked Coles on the victory bus after their popular FA Cup final victory in 2008:"We were on the parade bus when David shouted over too me "Colesy" have a look over there, is that Tom Fry our under-14 academy keeper in the celebrations."Imagine how that young man felt knowing David James was calling to him and waving. Working with David is a pleasure really; he has certainly improved my own personal skills as a coach and opened my eyes into the many attributes that he acquired over his many years as a top goalkeeper. This for me can only go on to benefit the many Academy keepers that I work with." Coles has seen a change in his weekly pre-match training preparation with more focus on the movements and characteristics of the oppositions forwards and attacking play that the goalkeeper is likely to face. He uses tailored DVD footage so that practices can be designed on the opposition in preparation for the game ahead."The last two days in the build up to the game are focussed on re-creating what the attackers do, how they shoot, where crosses come from and this goes down to the finer detail of the penalty taker and what side he favours." Coles adds, "David is a very big statistics man and likes to analyse both the opposition as well as his own game right down to the last detail. If there is something that he notices as weaknesses in the opposition and he can exploit that area, he will practice to do so for both his and the teams advantage. This may be something simple as distributing into certain areas of the field on to a weaker full back to keeping his own back four higher if crosses are put in from all angles giving him room to come and deal more often. Attention to detail is so important as we are always walking a tight rope between success and failure."YOU ARE THE REFby Keith Hackett and Paul TrevillionYOU ARE THE REF appears every Sunday in The Observer See page 29 for answersDuring the warm-up, opponents come to you and complain about the home goalkeeper's bizarrely over-sized gloves - claiming it gives him an unfair advantage. What do you do?1You've given an indirect free-kick just outside the area. The ball flies across and a striker leaps at it, appearing to flick it into the net. You give the goal. But as both sides line up for the restart, you overhear the striker laughing and confessing to a team-mate that he didn't touch the ball. What do you do?2It's a televised FA Cup fourth-round tie: a top-four club playing away at a non-league minnow. Before kick-off the away side's captain comes to you and says his team are refusing to play because they've seen dog muck on the pitch. They say it's unhygienic, even if the bulk of it is cleared. He wants the game called off. What do you do?3CORNER COACHING CORNER COACHING CORNER COACHING CORNER