German football legend helped tempt coach to Arsenal away from Sheffield Wednesday

World-renowned fitness coach Tony Strudwick has opened up a touch about the decision to take on a new job at Premier League Arsenal after leaving Sheffield Wednesday last month.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 9:01 am

The former Manchester United and England fitness coach, brought in by Steve Bruce as one of the most highly respected bodies in his field, arrived at Sheffield Wednesday to a hum of excitement in the summer of 2019.

He was a hugely popular member of staff at the club among players.

Strudwick is at the European Championships with Wales, a sideline gig he may well have had to give up had he stayed at Wednesday given the absence of international breaks in League One.

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Former Sheffield Wednesday fitness man Tony Strudwick (left) has left the club for Arsenal.

And speaking on his new club role in Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal set-up, Strudwick told The Athletic a 104-cap German football legend has been instrumental in the motive behind the switch.

“I have had some great interaction with Per Mertesacker, he is a person I’m really gonna enjoy working for,” he said. “It will be an environment that suits me.

“I grew up in north London, all my friends and family are either Spurs or Arsenal. My first warm-up in professional football was at Highbury, the marble floor, with Coventry in a cup game.

“I see a lot of similarities with Manchester United. They are both rich in history and tradition. Arsene Wenger there for so many years like Sir Alex.”

Strudwick’s time at Middlewood Road straddled a turbulent two years for Wednesday, who went through six managers including long-term caretakers Lee Bullen and Neil Thompson and descended from playoff hopefuls to relegation to League One.

And speaking to The Star earlier this year, though there is no indication that it was a driver behind his eventual decision to leave Wednesday, the 47-year-old described some of the difficulties that come with that rapid manager turnover for a coach.

“Each manager comes in with a different philosophy, and each will have a methodology and way of preparing their team,” he said.

“When I first arrived when Steve Bruce brought me in, he had a traditional English model in place. And then Lee Bullen had an interim period that was sort of a continuation of that.

“With Garry Monk, he came in with a different philosophy and idea of how he wanted his training model to look – which was completely different from Tony Pulis.

“Invariably, what different managers want from their fitness coaches can be really, really different.

“One thing you have to do though, is you have to be flexible to the model of the manager, but also retain some of the core values of what you expect and your expectations. We inform practice, and we drive insights to the manager, but the manager is the manager and we’re here to support.”

It remains to be seen how or if Strudwick will be replaced at Wednesday with Darren Moore looking to impress a new way forward for the club.

Moore has spoken about the need for a rebuild, one that has started with no fewer than 10 senior players included on their end of season released list.

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