Dalglish gets to grips with Tampa Rowdies

MIAMI - When Paul Dalglish made his debut as a professional football player it was with the expectations that come with being the son of one of the game's greats.

Dalglish, the 32-year-old son of the former Scotland and Liverpool striker Kenny, however ended a largely journeyman playing career in Major League Soccer for the Houston Dynamo.

Now he is set to follow his father's footsteps again, this time as a manager after he was appointed head coach of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who have been reformed after a 17-year absence and will play in the second tier of the U.S. leagues next season.

"I've always wanted to go into management, into coaching, it always fascinated me, you could say it's an obsession," Dalglish told Reuters in an interview.

"When you are a player you can only control yourself, when you are a manager you have much more to control, the selection, the system. The work is much more detailed.

"Even when I was very young, I always asked myself 'what would I do in that situation if I was manager?'

"As soon as I get up now, I am on the phone, the computer, just trying to find players. It doesn't feel like work when it is something you love.

"I do prefer it to playing because I am better at it. I was an average player, very average, but I really feel I can do something in management and coaching."


Dalglish, who played for Norwich and Wigan amongst others, had the unenviable task of carrying the name of one of the game's greats on the field and his modest playing career was accompanied by constant comparisons with his father.

Kenny Dalglish then won English league titles as a manager with Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers but his son believes any direct comparisons as a manager are now much less likely.

"Reputations go a long way as a player. As a manager it's just results... there is no hiding place."

Dalglish, however, does admit his approach is shaped by the successful Liverpool team of the late eighties, coached by his father.

"John Barnes, John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley, Ray Houghton. It was football from the back. That is my belief about how the game should be played.

"I think the people who come to watch my team, I want them to be entertained. "

Tampa Bay is a city with a football tradition given the strong support for their NASL team of the 1970's and 80's and Dalglish said he can feel the buzz building around the reformed club.

"I really the feel there is something special here - there is a great feeling, everyone is excited and everyone is hungry to succeed. I think the people in Tampa have missed the game."

Dalglish has the rare opportunity to recruit the entire squad, through trials such as one in Liverpool this week and others in Florida.

"The best thing about it is that there is a blank canvas.

"I have a system that I believe in and I can go out and specifically find players that suit specific roles and play in line with my vision.

"My ambitions are high. You might as well aim high and dream. I think we can create a very competitive team in the first year.

"I am so excited about this."