By Joe Crilly
Last Updated: 6th September 2019
I was so pleased to message Michael Johnson to congratulate him on joining the England Under-21 coaching set up earlier this week.
Michael is a friend of mine and has quit his role as head coach of Guyana take up this opportunity.
Chris Powell will work with Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff, while Jason Euell will coach the Under 20’s and another friend of mine Marcus Bignot will be with the Under 18’s.
It’s part of the FA’s plan to tackle the shocking lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) managers and coaches in the English game.
Over 30 per-cent of players in England’s top four divisions are from BAME backgrounds, but those numbers have never carried over to the dugout.
There are just five BAME managers in the Premier League and EFL, the game should hang its head in shame.
Some will say the issue is being addressed and this is proof of progress.
Powell has been out of work since his dismissal at Southend.
His placement with the senior side has been in the pipeline for at least 18 months.
But Southgate resisted the move as he did not want any changes to his coaching staff before the 2018 World Cup.
Johnson took Guyana to the CONCACAF Gold Cup finals for the first time in their history.
He has stepped down from his role to work with Aidy Boothroyd and his talented U21’s stars who need a shake up after their disastrous European championship campaign.
It would be fascinating to observe training, to see how they have been welcomed into the respective set-ups.
How much input do they have in terms of the make-up of training sessions?
What about team selection and tactics on matchdays?
Will Powell watch Premier League games for Southgate and have a say in terms of squad selection for next month’s Euro qualifiers?
The initiative finishes next summer, what happens next?
The answer to these questions will give a real indication of how seriously the FA are taking this initiative, or have they all shot off down the pub to congratulate themselves?
What does football have in store for these talented coaches, who, like their white counterparts want to continue in the game after their playing careers come to an end.
These coaches with a wealth of knowledge want a fair crack at the whip, not what some are dubbing as work experience for grown men.