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Adkins: Football can learn a lot from rugby

Nigel Adkins believes football coaches would benefit from adopting a similar approach to their rugby union counterparts to get the best out of elite players.

The former Southampton manager is the favourite to take charge at League One side Sheffield United, having been dismissed by Reading in December.

And Adkins would bring a wealth of newly gained knowledge to the role, having spent his period of unemployment learning from leaders in the worlds of rugby, business and polar exploration.

"I've been in work since I was 16 in football," he told Perform. "When I left Southampton, it was only a few weeks before I joined Reading, so I've actually enjoyed a little bit of a sabbatical where I've gone and done many things.

"I've actually spent time in the rugby environment and I've been lucky enough to go down and spend time with England, and I was at Leicester Tigers the other day.

"I was down there with Stuart [Lancaster] and the group before they played France [in the Six Nations] and the culture they've got going there is great.

"There's a really good interaction with all members of staff around the squad.

"There are many experiences and messages that we can share regarding how to get the best out of people and players.

"I find learning is stimulating for me and I've enjoyed that bit of time.

"Yes, there have been one or two opportunities to go back in, but I felt it was important to utilise this time, as I've been doing, and when the right opportunity comes back again, I will be looking to take that."

Adkins recently became an ambassador for the Football Foundation to mark the charity's 15th anniversary.

Since its launch in 2000, the Football Foundation, which is funded by the Premier League, the Football Association and the government through Sport England, has supported 13,000 grassroots sport projects with grants worth £520m and leveraged £736m in additional partnership funding, thereby delivering schemes with a total project cost of £1.24bn.