‘It’s about behaviours’ – How Sheffield Wednesday’s players can learn from Jude Bellingham and Co
Sheffield Wednesday coach, Chris Powell, says that the players at Hillsborough need to aspire to be as good as they can be – and can take lessons from the elite.
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Powell and manager, Danny Röhl, have plenty of experience working with players at the very top of their game. Between them, through their time at England, Germany and Bayern Munich, the pair have worked alongside some of the best players in the world, seeing them up close and personal in terms of the way they work.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Three Lions coach has pedigree, hence Röhl’s decision to bring him on board, and with his hefty experience in the English game it was suggested that he would act as a conduit between the players and the manager, a middleman of sorts.
“There's a bit of that, yeah – there's definitely a bit of that,” Powell replied. “Obviously, because I've worked the last three years with England, that helps me… I get a buy-in, really, from other players. And I think having Thommo (Neil Thompson) with us, a man who knows the club, knows how it works, and knows a lot of the boys, that helps again. But then also you look at Danny's experiences, they're really good. You know, with Munich, Germany, Southampton.”
Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller are just a few of the names that could be rolled out, and while they are ‘the cream’, Powell thinks that there are aspects of what they do that can be replicated – especially behaviourally.
He explained, “It's quite hard to have the players alongside each other, because quite obviously they are the cream. Jude Bellingham goes from Madrid as if he's just gone to his local Sunday team. I mean, it's uncanny what he's doing – but it doesn't surprise me and a lot of people that work with him because we just know his understanding of the game. He's very well balanced. He's been brought up brilliantly, both personally with his family, and at Birmingham and Dortmund.
“I suppose all you can ever say to our guys is, why don't you strive to be like that? Be as good as you can be. Behaviours on and off the field are massive. The way you treat people is massive. The way you play and interact with your teammates and with the staff is huge. Why don't you develop a learning? Because actually, we've got some good young players here. Why don't they strive to be in the higher leagues? Why not? Because if you don't set the bar high, you'll never reach there.”
The 54-year-old went on to say, “You don't have to be outspoken about it. But I think it's about behaviours, and it's about what they do day in, day out. That’s the big thing that really sets the tone and raises the bar. These guys are at the top level every day in everything they do, whether it's the gym, whether it's training, whether it's just being around the place, it's a high level every single day. And they don't come off it. That's why they're at the level they're at.
“You want our players to have that psyche, be the best you can be in everything you do. In everything you do. If it's set plays, if it's marking someone, if it's delivering that ball, if it's goalkeeping, taking a catch, playing out, building. Whatever it is, be the best that you can possibly be – because it'll only improve you and the team you're in. You can't do it on your own.
“Those top-level players, they're at the top-level but they still can't do it on their own. They have to have – not only the other 10 – but they've got to have the guys on the bench, they've got to have the staff in the gym, they've got to have the lads who haven't even made the squad. You've got to keep each other going, you've got to keep a real balance in what you're doing – at the highest level you can be. I think we've got players that can do that… It's going to be hard, but it's our job to make them better each and every day.”
If you want to watch our full interview with Powell you can do so in the video at the top of the page.