Watford manager Brendan Rodgers, who worked alongside Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, believes that his experience under The Special One will prove invaluable as he attempts to return the Hornets to the Premier League. The 35-year-old Northern Irishman’s appointment to the Vicarage Road hot-seat may have come as a surprise to many of the Watford faithful.
But with predecessor Aidy Boothroyd a relative unknown prior to taking the north London outfit up via the Championship play-offs in 2006, fans should hold no fears about the ex-Blues youth and reserve-team chief’s ability. “Jose Mourinho is a great coach but a better man,” says Rodgers in an exclusive interview in the February issue of FourFourTwo magazine, in shops now.
“The respect he gave people, the opportunities he gave people and what he’s achieved in the game can only be admired. Under Jose, I had an education that was second to none – the guy is the best day-to-day organiser and manager in the world. “I had a very similar football philosophy to Jose when I was working with the young players at Reading and that was the reason why he brought me to Chelsea. He took me under his wing and we had a wonderful relationship. Operating at the highest level also gave me great confidence.” Watford’s new man may not have endured the most awe-inspiring of starts to his senior management debut, winning just three, drawing two and losing six of his 11 matches at the helm. But with the man nicknamed ‘Buck Rodgers’ attempting to re-introduce a creative, attacking force to be reckoned with at Vicarage Road – distancing the club from the direct approach that proved successful under Boothroyd – patience was always going to be the key word. “My philosophy is about creative, attacking football, but with discipline, which is also important,” he says. “It takes time, but I saw from my very first session that the players can adapt. “I’ve spoken to guys like Steve Bould, who played a certain way under George Graham, only to see Arsene Wenger come in and teach him to play and give him more confidence with the ball. We re-enforce to the players that the best thing other than scoring goals in football is to have the ball, so we’re trying to teach our players to pass the ball at Watford. “The challenge is to change the football philosophy of the club. It’s about playing good football and winning. Watford is big club with a famous past and we want those days to return.” The full interview with Brendan Rogers can be found in the February issue of FourFourTwo magazine, available now.