Sheffield United: Weir factor helps new boy to snub Italian job

Newly-appointed Sheffield United manager David Weir persuaded Adam Owen to come to Bramall Lane after working with him at Ibrox
Newly-appointed Sheffield United manager David Weir persuaded Adam Owen to come to Bramall Lane after working with him at Ibrox
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Adam Owen has told The Star he turned down a job in Italy because he desperately wanted to link up with new Sheffield United manager David Weir.

It was a week ago Weir made his first backroom staff appointment, drafting in Owen as a ‘Assistant Manager - Performance’. The likeable Welshman, who specialises in football-specific conditioning and injury-prevention techniques, spent nearly seven years at Glasgow Rangers before opting to move to Bramall Lane.

Owen, a good friend of Weir’s from their Ibrox days together, said: “I was over in Rome in the summer and I spoke to an Italian club and I had the opportunity to go there as a Head of Sport Science, but I knew David was looking to get into management and I was waiting and hoping he would at some point get a job because I really wanted to work with him. David, as a person and a professional, is somebody I hold in high regard.”

“I’ve had many opportunities over the last couple of seasons to move to the Premier League but they just didn’t feel right in terms of how I wanted to progress in my career,” he added. “After David got the United job, he phoned me up and asked me if I would be interested in coming along and being part of his team. It was a tough decision to leave a big club such as Glasgow Rangers but I fancied a new challenge.”

Owen brings a wealth of experience and contacts to United, having developed his skills at Real Madrid and AC Milan.

Now the 32-year-old is aiming to become the first and youngest person in Europe to obtain both the UEFA Pro Coaching Licence and a PhD in ‘Football Science’.

He hopes to complete his PhD, which he has been working towards at the University of Lyon, in France, for the last three years, this September.

“I’ve got good links with Real Madrid,” said Owen. “I spent some time over there during a study visit. It was a fantastic experience.

“AC Milan was a big learning curve for me too because they have the Milan lab and that was a fundamental part of my work.

“My PhD and research is geared around specific football methods. Everything we will do here will be football related from games to medical drills which will have a football element to them. Even the tactical elements will be imposed on the players through high-intensity football sessions.”

Owen, who began his playing career with Wrexham, wants to help United’s players get physically, mentally and tactically ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

“My aim, alongside David, is to put a structure in place to make sure we keep progressing as a club,” said Owen, who has also held a role with the Football Association of Wales.