Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Tuesday January 9 2007
The art of goalkeeping is something that comes naturally to Eric Steele, the former, Derby, Newcastle, Peterborough and Watford keeper. He is now passing on his traits to youngsters all round the world, with his company 'Eric Steele Coaching Services`. With more than 30-years playing & coaching experience in the top flight of his chosen profession the Coaching Service is a must see experience for all ages. Whether you need to improve your individual goalkeeping abilities or broaden your knowledge as a coach, Eric Steele has the ability to formulate a coaching session to suit your specific needs. Steele embarks on a tour 'Down Under` in January visiting Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne to pass on his knowledge to the Australian public. Derby Vitalfootball - caught up with Steele before his departure and started by asking him what the course would give the lads attending in Australia. Steele said: "It will show them the importance of good technique allied to an appreciation of understanding the role of the goalkeeper in the team. Also to impress upon the young keeper`s the importance of being mentally strong, which is vital in football today."
Steele has worked at a number of clubs as goalkeeper coach and when asked about a player he had coached who had given him the most satisfaction with their performances on the pitch Steele was quick to respond
He said: "I have been fortunate throughout my career to work with some good keepers and great characters, ranging from current England keeper Paul Robinson, former Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel, to young keepers I had at Derby, Lee Grant and Lee Camp.
However the one that gave me the most in terms of personal satisfaction would be Mart Poom. He currently plays for Arsenal FC, but when he arrived at Derby he was a raw recruit from Estonia for £500,000. He helped establish Derby County in the top 8 of the Premier League, and became player of the year and was sold for £2.5 million to Sunderland in 2002.
He was a great project as he had limited natural talent, but was a good listener and was prepared to work at his game, which is a lesson to all. He has become a highly respected keeper throughout Europe."
The playing days were memorable for Steele and he has many highlights, and he hopes others can continue the same ride in football like he did.
"Representing England was a very proud moment for me and anyone involved in sport. Gaining six promotions with various clubs will always be a proud achievement." said Steele.
"But there are two highlights that stand out. The first was winning promotion to the Premier League for Brighton on the final game of the season at my home town club Newcastle.
With all my family watching it was a great day, even though I did get yellow carded after 35 minutes when we were 3-0 up!
The other would be successive promotions with Derby County to the Premier league.
Derby County holds a special place in my career as I still live in the area, the fans are loyal and something special and I returned to win a further Promotion as a coach with Steve McClaren and Jim Smith."
In the early days Steele had many coaches and he names two for a special mention. "I was blessed to have many good coaches, but I`d say Alan Mullery at Brighton - former Spurs and England - was a great motivator, and Arthur Cox at Derby County was the best Coach with his attention to detail, that I worked with." said Steele
He added: "I did not have a specialist coach until I was 25 at Watford, and that was Alan Hodgkinson the ex- England keeper. My first coach who did any specialist work was Peter Kirkley at Wallsend Boys Club where Alan Shearer started his career."
With Steele having a hand in the coaching career of England keeper Robinson, I asked him what he thought of English goalkeepers in the Premier League, and with their being a large influx of foreign keepers, including Aussie pair Mark Schwarzer and Brad Jones Middlesbrough, does he believe there is a crisis. "Not at all, as at the same time England has never been in better shape with eight English keepers playing in the Premier League at present." said Steele
"We have good young keepers playing in Ben Foster at Watford and Scott Carson at Charlton, along side Robinson and Chris Kirkland.
"But saying that the foreign influx to the UK, has given us all an opportunity to view varied styles and approaches to the game, which has been interesting."
Date:Tuesday January 9 2007
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