Three Lions stint was 'best experience' for newly-appointed Hatters assistant

Town assistant Richie Kyle with boss Rob EdwardsTown assistant Richie Kyle with boss Rob Edwards
Town assistant Richie Kyle with boss Rob Edwards
New Town number two was heavily involved with England age-groups earlier in his career

New Luton assistant boss Richie Kyle insists the three years he spent working with England’s age-groups as part of the Football Association coaching set-up was the ‘best experience’ of his coaching career to date.

The 38-year-old has had a different route to his current role at Kenilworth Road than most as he didn’t play the game professionally, studying sports development and physical education at Liverpool John Moores University instead, where he began his coaching journey at Blackburn Rovers within the academy.

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He then worked with Everton, before moving to Blackpool, becoming head of the U18s, where he linked up with Town boss Rob Edwards for the first time, eventually promoted to coach and then assistant manager under Gary Bowyer and Neil McDonald, with a key role on the coaching staff as the Tangerines beat Luton in the League Two play-off semi-final in 2017.

Kyle then moved to take on a role with the FA later that year, helping both with the U17s and U20s to World Cup wins, while also being involved in the U19s when they won the European Championships, with a side containing current full internationals Mason Mount, Aaron Ramsdale and Reece James.

On his time there, he said: “I did three years with England and that was probably the best experience of my career in terms of working with top level players who were in the World Cup now.

“Travelling the world and learning off some top, top coaches in Gareth (Southgate) and Steve (Holland), Keith Downing, Paul Simpson, you’re learning,

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"For me it was like a three year degree really, I was with some of the best players in the world and some top coaches, so I was fortunate to have that time, but then I was ready to get back into first team football and get back into trying to get that three points every weekend which is what we’re all here to do.”

When moving to England, Kyle took on a role that was specially created by then technical director Dan Ashworth, as he became what was known as an out-of-possession specialist.

Describing how he honed his skills in such a specific way, Kyle continued: “England did things differently, they tried to be innovative and tried to have a head coach, in possession, out of possession, which gives you a focus on looking at the different areas of the game.

"It definitely gives you an insight and you can go into more detail, because you have more time.

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"That was the biggest thing with England, you had more time to really get to the nuts and bolts of what it looks like without the ball as a group, individuals as well and how you can then improve that and implement a gameplan against some of the top nations.

"So it’s something I learned along the way and something I really bought into.

"It was really helpful for me to develop my own knowledge and understanding.”

It was while with the FA that Kyle reconnected with Hatters chief Edwards once more, as the latter had coincidentally taken on a position as the specialist in-possession coach with the young Lions.

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If that means that the pair now have every base covered within it comes to imparting their knowledge at the Brache, Kyle continued: “At the end of the day, coaches you do all your qualifications to be the best coach you can possibly be and you go to different environments, especially with England.

"Rob was with the in possession, I was out of possession, Rob’s got a passion for both sides of the game like I have and some people like the in more than the out.

"But at the end of the day, the years we’ve been coaching together, it gives you the great experience and the breadth of the whole coaching package really.

"We’re both capable in either, but we’ve had that detailed time of looking into it more and getting into the depth of detail of the in and out.”

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Giving his own experience of working at St George’s Park, Edwards himself added: “These are top players and I was lucky to be working with them.

"It was a brilliant experience and a lot of them now are playing Premier League football and doing very, very well and it’s great to see.

"It was a real pleasure for me to be able to learn from a lot of really good staff and people, Gareth and everyone, they’re really open at the FA and I worked with some top players.

"Those top players, they do it every single day and it was great to be around them and see that’s the level,

"It’s brilliant to see some of them playing week in week out, household names now.”