Patrick Vieira can forge long career in management, says assistant Osian Roberts

The Welshman has helped Patrick Vieira, Mikel Arteta and Thierry Henry on their coaching journey.

George Sessions
Saturday 04 December 2021 22:30
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira and assistant Osian Roberts (Nick Potts/PA)
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira and assistant Osian Roberts (Nick Potts/PA)

Crystal Palace assistant Osian Roberts admits being a top player can open doors for a job in management but feels Patrick Vieira has the credentials to enjoy a long coaching career.

The Eagles face Manchester United on Sunday, but the fixture will not see two former Premier League greats go head-to-head on the touchline after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last month, while Michael Carrick who had been caretaker, has left the club following the arrival of interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

Before Roberts moved to Selhurst Park in the summer, the majority of his professional career in the sport had been spent working for the Football Association of Wales in numerous roles, one of which included teaching the next generation of coaches on the FAW’s Pro Licence course.

Vieira, current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Thierry Henry are some of the best from England’s top flight to have graduated from the training programme, in addition to Chris Coleman and Roberto Martinez, but the Palace number two says a great playing career only takes you so far.

“It gives them maybe the first six games,” Roberts said during Friday’s press conference before the trip to Old Trafford.

“When they walk into the room, they have that aura and personality. Players will look up to them, but after a very short period of time the players will make their mind up over whether this former great player can coach or not.

“You have to earn their respect from a totally different angle. You have their respect for what you did as a player, but then you have to earn their respect as a coach and manager. The best ones will of course succeed in doing that, but it is a totally different game.

“It gives you a chance, it opens the door perhaps to give you an opportunity and a short window. During that window you have to earn the respect again and show and convince players you can lead them as a group to success.”

Roberts stepped in to face the media on Friday after Palace manager Vieira had to deal with an “urgent family matter”, but the ex-Arsenal captain is set to lead the team this weekend.

The pair are working together for the first time at Selhurst Park this season, but their relationship charts back to the UEFA Pro Licence course where the current Eagles boss immediately caught the eye.

Patrick had no ego, a lot of humility and was prepared to accept he wasn’t going to get anywhere based on the fact he was a top player,” Roberts added.

“He knew he had to re-educate himself from the viewpoint of becoming a coach and a manager and he has done that in a very studious way. He is very serious, detailed and thorough, and because of that he is a joy to work with.

“He leaves no stone unturned and his playing days are not something he mentions. He doesn’t talk to the players and say ‘this is what I used to do’, that door has been closed and he sees himself purely, 100 per cent as a manager.

“I am delighted. I saw him work and visited him in Nice, so I am delighted with the way he has developed as a coach and manager. I think hopefully he will be around for a long time because he has so much to offer the game as a manager.”

Palace need to assess Joachim Andersen (hamstring) before Sunday’s match but will definitely be without Joel Ward, Nathan Ferguson and James McArthur.

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