Sports News

Cesc Fabregas relishing role in Como’s £1 billion plan

He explains: “I always knew after a meeting if the players enjoyed it or not. It’s about understanding certain situations, certain moments, because at the end of the day, it’s about managing situations. And managing people.

“The tactics, yes, of course it’s very important. We have to work on the pitch. But managing different situations at different moments and different people – that’s the most tricky.”

“I always want people that are better than me around,” he adds. “You can be the main person, the ‘image guy’ in anything you do in life, but to keep growing, I always believe you need better people around you.”

The conversation turns to Roberts. “Osh is fantastic. He always gives you different views – not opinions because we see football the same way – but when I’m looking at something he will look at things from another perspective that challenges me. I love it because it makes your brain work 24/7 in 360 degrees.”

Coaching guru Roberts managing bigger picture

Roberts may well be the most famous football coach that you have not heard of. Within the game, his reputation is as wide as his near-permanent grin. Bielsa-esque in some ways, disciples make pilgrimages to study his ways. This week they include Michael Flynn, the former Swindon manager, and Joe Ledley, the former Crystal Palace and Wales midfielder. 

Roberts is credited with establishing and developing everything underpinning Wales’ recent footballing success.

He was recruited by Como, primarily to future-proof the project’s football element, by two close friends: Henry, and Darren Dein, son of former Arsenal owner David, who is agent to both Henry and Fabregas.

“There aren’t many projects this exciting in global football at the moment,” Roberts says, whose Henry link came via Marcel Desailly. For many years, Roberts, as part of his role as the Welsh Football Association’s technical director, oversaw the A licence course with Ian Rush. Desailly was star pupil number one, and from him Roberts’ reputation grew “by word of mouth. Marcel was like a father to the young French players: Thierry, Patrick Vieira, David Ginola. If he said to do something, they did it.”

Arteta, Jens Lehmann and Freddie Ljungberg are also amongst his alumni, with Fabregas the latest beneficiary.

Running coaching courses was part of Roberts’ role. “It won’t be a ‘copy and paste’,” Roberts says when asked how he will approach his assignment at Como. “When I went to Morocco, I could easily have taken top coaches, people I’d worked with and been ‘Brits abroad’ in the Moroccan federation. I’ve never believed in that.”

Instead, Roberts conducted a painstakingly detailed application process, and, looking to the future, local coaches were given junior roles. “A manager’s job is to look three matches ahead, a technical director’s is to look 10 years ahead.”

Time, though, is a precious commodity. “It’s essential everybody knows where we want to go, how we’re going to get there, what it’s going to take,” Roberts says.

“Maybe the owners want to get there tomorrow, and that’s where we have to be aligned. Having owners that want to get there quickly means it’s really exciting. But we’ve got to make sure it’s sustainable, and to do that, we’ve got to make sure we can back it up, so that when we do achieve and get there, we can stay there.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button