June 24, 2024

Steven Gerrard is just not the one former Liverpool legend making a splash as a coach in Saudi Arabia’s thrilling new soccer world.

Robbie Fowler the participant by no means bowed to a problem and was one of many sharpest strikers in Europe. Now, greater than a decade after hanging up his boots, the previous England, Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis ahead is exhibiting he has taken that very same mentality into administration because the coach of First Division Al-Qadsiah.

The 48-year-old has led his new membership to a few wins and a attract an undefeated begin to the 2023-24 league marketing campaign, and would love nothing greater than to affix the large boys of the Roshn Saudi League subsequent season.

Fowler, nevertheless, is just not getting carried away at such an early stage.

“There’s all the time going to be stress on you, and you need to settle for that,” he mentioned. “The house owners (Aramco) wish to get promoted and I additionally would love that. I wish to achieve success, after all. From a membership perspective, there’s received to be some realism there although. No matter the place you completed final season and the way a lot cash you’ve spent, there’s no assure or entitlement to say we’re going to get into the professional league.

“My major instance for that’s Chelsea,” mentioned Fowler. “They’ve spent virtually a billion kilos on gamers and so they’re in all probability additional away from the highest 4 than they’ve been for years. So, there’s no assure in case you usher in plenty of gamers that you simply’re going to achieve success. It simply doesn’t work like that. However you probably have that membership ethos in place and a bunch of gamers completely dedicated to the trigger then, after all, something is feasible.”

Throughout a enjoying profession that noticed him internet 163 targets in 379 Premier League appearances between 1993 and 2009, Fowler racked up honors — an FA Cup, two League Cups, a UEFA Cup, and UEFA Tremendous Cup, in addition to two PFA Younger Participant of the Yr Awards in 1995 and 1996. Now he’s racking up each conceivable teaching qualification he can get his palms on — the newest coming within the type of an LMA Diploma in Soccer Administration.

Al-Qadsiah is the newest cease in a managerial profession that has already taken him from Thailand to Saudi Arabia by way of Australia and India.

Fowler’s relationship with Al-Qadsiah began with a consultancy function earlier than he was made head coach in June 2023, after going by way of the identical interview course of as each different candidate.

A now seven-game unbeaten run, together with the opening 4 league matches, is precisely the beginning Fowler would have dreamed of — sitting joint prime of the desk alongside Al-Jabalain and Al-Arabi after selecting up 10 factors from a doable 12 within the league.

However that doesn’t inform half the story. Fowler took a squad of 27 gamers to Turkiye on a pre-season tour, but solely two out of that preliminary group have began within the staff’s league video games up to now. It’s evident Fowler’s staff now have an identification, a powerful early-season feat contemplating the brand new nucleus of his first 11 solely joined the squad two days previous to the beginning of the marketing campaign.

In the meantime, the coaching floor — which nonetheless consists of a single pitch and a brand new state-of-the-art fitness center — is a far cry from seasons previous. A part of Fowler’s consultancy function was making an attempt to provide an setting during which the gamers may thrive and, fortunately from his perspective, the house owners are evidently very understanding of what the gamers’ wants are.

Fowler’s sole aim is to get essentially the most out of each useful resource obtainable to him, priding himself on instilling the theme of household tradition at golf equipment he has managed.

“Pre-season is all about getting your squad collectively and getting your ethos throughout, however we couldn’t do this right here,” Fowler instructed Arab Information. “We needed to simply get on with it. We’ve successfully had a brand new staff and a brand new squad, so to implement what we’ve needed to do in that brief area of time and stay unbeaten … With out self-praising, I feel it’s fairly outstanding to be sincere.

“I’m all about creating that household setting. If you happen to’ve received that synergy with the employees, then they do this little bit extra. It’s not simply concerning the man-management of gamers; it’s concerning the employees too and treating them like they’re the most effective folks on this planet.”

Al-Qadsiah is the fourth staff Fowler has coached fulltime, following stints at Muangthong United, Brisbane Roar, and East Bengal respectively. Each personally and professionally, Fowler has learnt a lot from these totally different cultural experiences.

“When it comes to the place I’ve been, each nation has its totally different requirements and ‘remit’ in case you like,” he added. “All of it boils right down to you as an individual, in the end. If you happen to can perceive and respect the values of the nation that you simply’re in, then that’s an enormous transfer in the proper route already.

“From a cultural perspective, you’re studying new stuff each single day. Each participant is totally different and you need to respect prayer instances, actually in Saudi Arabia. On the finish of the day it’s all about bringing out the most effective in each participant you will have, each on and off the sphere. Higher folks interprets to raised gamers, and with that the outcomes will comply with.”

That has actually been the case thus far for Fowler, whose aspect’s most up-to-date end result was a hard-fought stalemate on the highway at Al-Ain in Al-Baha. The early type of Al-Qadsiah, a staff that completed eleventh final season, has actually elevated expectations across the membership.

His quest for achievement has coincided with him making the final word sacrifice — a troublesome, however mandatory resolution — of leaving his household at residence within the UK for prolonged intervals of time. Fortunately for Fowler, they’re totally supportive of his selections and perceive the journey he’s on. What defines success for Fowler, nevertheless, is just not essentially merely titles and trophies.

“Individuals assume success is simply successful trophies, however it’s not,” he mentioned. “It’s making a staff higher — on and off the sphere — and getting them ready for the subsequent degree. Me not successful trophies at a membership doesn’t imply I haven’t been profitable. If somebody is available in after me and helps the membership enhance additional, I’ve performed my half in serving to them on that journey.

“I do know I’m by myself journey proper now and I’ve needed to come abroad to do it,” Fowler mentioned. “However you recognize what, as a lot as I really like my household and I miss them, that is what I wish to do. If you’d like one thing that badly then you definately’ve received to make sacrifices on the finish of the day; attempt various things and get out of your consolation zone. I’ve performed that for years now and I’ve genuinely loved it.”

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