Randles takes European approach

  10 April 2013   Hutt News   Junior News
Randles takes European approach

Source: Hutt News


He played as a fulltime professional for Stoke in the UK but Petone's new director of junior football, Tom Randles, spurns the British style of play.


Randles says for too long, New Zealand has followed the "get it down the other end as quickly as possible" mentality.


Unfortunately, there are too many parents and spectators on the sideline yelling at players to "clear it, get rid of it", he says.


Randles favours - and intends teaching his new junior charges - the European way: Far more control of the ball and "clever interchange of passing".


He cites the All Whites v New Caledonia match on March 22, crucial as a FIFA World Cup qualifier, as a clash of the two styles.


The New Zealanders came away with a 2-1, win thanks to a late header from Tommy Smith, but the Kiwis were rattled by their French-influenced opponents.


"Put it this way, for the football they played, New Caledonia didn't deserve to lose."


Randles applauds New Zealand Football's "Whole of Football Programme" being adopted by clubs around the country and is in full agreement with a grass roots approach designed to encourage males and females of all genders and ages to get into the beautiful game. But he warns this must not be to the detriment of extra opportunities and help for players who show talent.


"In fact, there should be more emphasis on the elite . . . but we can achieve both."


The Petone club is making changes such as more chances for junior girls to play in girls-only teams on Sundays, but still foot it with males in Saturday mixed teams if they wish. The club has seen a surge in girls signing up.


Randles says before a player even reaches age 10, it's possible to tell whether they deserve inclusion in development squads. He gives the example of Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, picked up for extra attention when he was just 7.


One of the changes he is introducing at Petone is two extra training sessions a week for "keen" 7 and 8-year-olds. They'll be on Monday and Friday afternoons, so it doesn't interfere with the midweek coaching sessions with their own teams.


Petone Football chairman Craig Deadman is excited by the quality coaching CV and experience Randles brings to the club.


After a professional debut for Stoke against Liverpool in front of 62,000 fans at Anfield stadium, and four years with that club, Randles played football in Melbourne and Sydney, and representative soccer for Victoria and NSW.


He played for Christchurch United in the "glory years . . . we won the league three times and the Chatham Cup twice" and went to Tauranga for more than a decade.


After coaching Lower Hutt's premier side for three seasons from 2001, Randles began as junior development coach at Capital Football before his move to Petone.


Capital Football and the Petone club are partners with others in the $2 million artificial playing surface at Memorial Park due to be opened later this week.


Randles says it's going to make an "enormous difference".


In past seasons up to eight or nine weeks of a season have been cancelled because of unplayable pitches, "and that affects practices as well as matches".


New floodlighting will mean night games are possible and Randles says it was a great decision to also lay a sizeable practice area in artificial turf alongside the No 1 field.


He predicts the facility will be in constant use by all players.