Sir Clive Woodward interview: BBC Radio 5 Live

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My interview with Sir Clive Woodward will air on tonight’s 7:30pm slot on BBC 5
Live, so if you hold Sir Clive in the esteem as myself then I suggest you tune-in. Unsurprisingly, the  papers have already began twisting my words, but the record will be firmly straightened in tonight’s hour show.

We’ll discuss my early experiences of coaching and philosophy, and the inevitable challenge that England face in Brazil, as well as a host of other insightful topics.

If you’re tuning in, let me know your thoughts – agree or disagree, let’s hear it. Comment below or alternatively, tweet us at @CliveWoodward and @Joey7barton.

The show will be available here.

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I really enjoyed the interview & I admire the respect that you clearly hold for Sir Clive. It's very refreshing to hear someone in football looking at cross-sporting coaching & asking 'what can we learn from this?' On that subject, what's your view on Stuart Lancaster? I noticed you were at the England - Wales match - what were your thoughts? I have to admit, like others on this blog, I held a somewhat negative view about you, largely based on the one-dimensional media coverage. Since the radio show, I've also looked at your Football Focus & Newsnight interviews & found them interesting too.

SCW & other successful coaches have often talked about setting players individual targets & getting them to buy in far more to their own development. Does this happen at top football clubs? From the interview, it sounds like there isn't much individual coaching & understanding of how to develop players as individuals. Alan Pardew's comments recently were interesting regarding developing the individual as well as the player. What are your thoughts?


I listened to this as I am a huge fan of Sir Clive, and rugby in general...I know very very little about your sport.

So I didn't understand why he would be talking to one of "those" footballers, that I have heard of for all the wrong reasons. Within a few minutes you had totally changed my impression of you (which admittedly was based on headlines and half listened to discussions on Five Live). Instead of the banal and dull interview I was expecting, it was one of the listening highlights of the year.

Irrespective of what you have achieved as a player, I can see you truly succeeding as a coach...I can imagine Sir Clive nodding and agreeing with so much of what you said about player psychology.

So thank you for being so honest and making me realise not every footballer is as one dimensional as I had previously believed. I wish you nothing but the best in your playing career, degree course, personal life and almost inevitable future employment as a coach.


Very interesting interview Joseph one I thoroughly enjoyed. Brilliant to hear you are studying a degree in philosophy, certainly hope it all goes well for you, not often players indulge into degrees outside of the game.

I did agree/disagree with Gerrard am a Liverpool fan and on his form he should go with him being the captain too. Furthermore if I flip to your view I also agree, if we took a youthful squad to the championship in Brazil and got to the last 8 then that would be some accomplishment in it's own right. In contrast that leads me onto building for France .. The younger players who play in Brazil would have experience of a tournament and would be building for the euros in 2016, something I believe to be more realistic in terms of success.

Finally, good to hear your view on 1-1 management and the coaching formula. I think many coaches and manages are quick to identify a player who has a short fuse and neglect his football ability. Similar case with yourself .. Potential at a young age, made some rash decisions due to inexperience and immaturity. Subsequently you have learned to control this and become open and honest, for that you deserve respect alone.

Was good insight between two interesting figures in the sporting world.

Darren (Liverpool Kirkdale)


Very interesting even had to mute the golf. Can't believe you would not take Gerard to the World Cup his performance for England and Liverpool merits a place, solid reliable and experienced. This can only improve people around him Henderson for example. Building for the next World Cup must start with a solid base. If we had a player of his attitude and performance level going into the every World Cup English football would be better off.


Firstly, I'm enjoying the interview and the points made by both yourself & SCW. 

I don't necessarily agree with a couple of your ideas though: 

1: Not taking Gerrard to the world cup, purely because he's a player who won't be appearing at the next one.

2: Writing off England's chances because we don't have 'world class' players and this whole premise of 'world class' players.

1: My counter argument, firstly is that 'young players' learn an incredible amount from senior ones, and having a squad lacking the balance created by senior players would not be nearly as productive for those younger players. 

Secondly, this 'experience' that we're looking to give younger players, in my opinion, does not come simply from participating at a world cup. Playing in a couple of group matches is not the level of experience I believe to be useful going forward. Getting to the latter stages of a tournament and all the added pressures that it brings, is real experience. Fatigue, extra time, going down to 10men, subsequent mid-match tactical changes are a few of the elements I'm referring to.. the kind of experience that you won't necessirily get from group matches. 

Therefore, building the best team for this tournament, capable of reaching the latter stages, is far more productive to the few younger players who reach the team - than building a team full of younger players for the sake of it, and purposefully leaving out one of your best players, just because he won't feature at the next world cup. If there no way Rooney and Hart could feature in 4 years times, would we leave them out as well. My idea would be to focus on balance, if that means a couple of younger players do not make it, then that's fine. They'll learn from the experience of not making it and their time will come. Michael Owen didn't need the experience of going to Euro 96 (if that was possible) to succeed in 98.

2: This whole premise of 'World Class' players makes little sense to me. I appreciate that the luxury of better players will aid a team potentially performing better. However, just because a team does not have them, it's not a good enough excuse to justify why a team can't do well. This debate of whether Rooney is or isn't world class is irrelevant, as is the discussion about Gerrard, when judging England's chances.

What's of greater importance to me is the style of football, mentality and balance of the team, footballing philosophy, for want of a better phrase. A team which is tactically versatile and aware, and team which compliments each other. It doesn't matter to me whether we have 3 world class players in that team, or 1. 

Let's take Jordan Henderson; one season he's 'poor', the next he's your 'young player of the season'. Whilst I appreciate that the player himself must've improved his ability, it's not purely down to that. It's his education, the system of the team he's within and the role he plays in the TEAM, as opposed to a debate regarding whether Henderson is now 'world class' and previously wasn't 'world class'.

There are plenty of teams where the sum of their parts far exceeds their individual ability. Let's focus on that as a good example rather than creating a line of world class galactico style individuals.

Enjoyed your show, and look forward to hearing more of them!


I totally agree, but just like yourself, if you knew it all you would have become a lot better player. You also knew you wasn't good enough to play at the highest level, but you was able to cope with the psychology factors which kept you up there. Well in some ways anyway . .

But why did it take so long for you to become what you know now? If you had the mind you have now, i personally think you would have gone a long way. However could the same be said about the young players growing up? Is making it as a professional enough for our young players? Where they don't succeed for more?

Regarding Rooney, he needs to move on where there isnt pressure and just enjoy playing. The potential he has, i agree with you but why isnt he enjoying the game he once loved at Everton carelessly? 

I feel extremely disappointed you choose to do your coaching course away from the FA where us young coaches need to hear what ex players like you have to say! I work in a academy after doing a degree in Sport Science, played a bit but didnt go as far so went back to study. But you are the kind we young coaches and people in football need to speak to.

I cant express as a person with sport science background, how big of a change it would make if clubs knew each and every player and background. You cant change someone, however we can help improve each player. And as i wrote this, you went on to mention 'coaches'. I once again totally agree, weak to know the players and put himself in the same level.

Ive got a little emotion writing this as i cant express how grateful i am for you to come out and talk like this. Thank you for stepping out the circle and telling us your view. 



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