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Interviews

Dean Whitehead - Life at Town

4 March 2020

Dean Whitehead gives an insight into his life as a Town first-team coach.

Dean Whitehead joined the Shrewsbury Town first-team staff in November 2019 to link up former Oxford United team-mate Sam Ricketts.

The former midfielder began his playing career with the U's before spending time in the Premier League with Sunderland, Stoke City, and Middlesbrough in the Championship before retiring at Huddersfield Town to become an under-23's coach at the John Smiths Stadium.

The 38-year-old gave an update on how he is finding life at Sundorne Castle in his first stint as a first-team coach. He said: “I have really enjoyed it so far. I had the opportunity to step up into a first-team coaching role so I took it. It’s something I wanted to do in the future and it’s come quicker than expected. I am really enjoying it, we have a great set of lads and it’s a good club.

“I knew the Gaffer from Oxford United. We were playing together when we were around 15 or 16 but then went our separate ways. We both had our careers and now we are back working together.

“I didn't really know what I wanted to do until I was about 29 or 30. During that time, I would have collected good and bad bits from different managers and built my own coaching style.

“I would describe my style as energetic and probably loud. I like to drive sessions with my voice and bring qualities from my playing career into coaching. Hopefully I can help develop these players and make them better every day.

“I demand standards every day. If you let players do what they want, they become sloppy. You have to drive those little details - whether that be a passing drill or possession - you have to demand work ethic.”

Before joining Salop, Dean finished his playing career in the Premier League with Huddersfield Town and stepped up into a coaching role with former Terriers Manager David Wagner.

Dean provided an insight into his experience before making the move to Shropshire. He said: “When David Wagner arrived, I was still playing. He broke the club down and built his own style of play and his own way of doing things on and off the pitch.

“The year we got promoted he offered me a coaching role but I said I wasn't ready to finish playing yet. He gave me another year and then I decided to take the step across.

“Obviously you always strive to get as high as possible and that's no different in coaching. You have to set your bar high. Without setting specific goals, I want to go as high as I can.

“If you get to know players and the human being, you have a good starting point. You know what drives and motivates them. Coaching is a case of getting the best out of players and driving them on."


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