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Interviews

MICHAEL TONGE ON HIS FIRST COACHING ROLE

27 May 2021

Get to know Individual Coach Michael Tonge!

- Michael Tonge joined Town’s Academy in November 2020
- Former pro discusses his role at the Club
- Tonge speaks on his personal growth as a Coach

Huddersfield Town Academy’s Individual Coach Michael Tonge is pleased with how he’s settled into his first coaching role following the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Michael – who holds the UEFA B License – joined Town’s Academy in the new position in November 2020 and spoke to htafc.com about how he’s found his first six months at the Club.

“It has been great so far and I have really enjoyed it!

“It’s my first coaching job, so I was coming into a different environment and at first I was just learning the ropes.

“Even though I’ve been involved in football pretty much all my life, the coaching and playing aspects are completely different.

“The other Academy coaches, George Danaher, Oran Thompson and Jon Worthington have all really helped me.

“I have learnt so much from them, they have helped me immensely and I really appreciate their guidance.”

Tonge’s role sees him help the Young Terriers with their Individual Development Plans (IDPs), which aim to supplement their work in groups and units with specific learning tailored to their specific needs.

“I do a lot of one-to-one work with the players, trying to improve various aspects of their game.

“This year I have been helping George with the Under-17s and some of the Under-19s.

“You always find that after a game there might be certain players who didn’t get many minutes or didn’t play at all, so it involves topping them up with what they need.

“Some weeks you are doing lots of personalised individual sessions, but other weeks you might not be, it really depends on how the games pan out and who is playing each week.”

The former Sheffield United midfielder went on to discuss how he has found working with the Academy players and touched on the development of players such as Sonny Whittingham.

“Everyone here wants to improve.

"There are a lot of good players in the Academy because they all have good attitudes to learning and developing.

“I have been able to build relationships with the lads, such as Sonny.

"In the last six months I have seen him grow and improve so much as a player, which is really pleasing.

“I have seen such a huge improvement in Sonny’s game in such a short space of time.

“When I first arrived, he wasn’t really playing in the Under-17s games, whereas now I have seen a become a real key figure in these games.

“I wouldn’t say that that’s down to me, the coaching from George, Oran and Jon has been exceptional.

“All the lads recognise what the programme is for and are aware of what aspects of their game they need to improve on.”

The Academy Coach also took the time to look ahead to next season and state his own personal aims for the next campaign.

“Personally, I want to continue to develop the relationships with the lads in terms of having open and honest conversations with them about how they want to improve their game.

“It would be great next year to work with the boys in bigger numbers, which would help me grow as a Coach.

“I want to see players keep going upwards and improving, but it’s not an overnight change, it’s a gradual process.

“For them to keep improving I need to sure I don’t miss anything that could improve their game. When you get further up the age groups the key to developing a player is spotting the finer details that could help them take their game to the next level, so it’s about being aware of these things.”


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