‘Invaluable’ Bristol City man primed for successful management career
Though Andy King hasn’t started for Bristol City since last year, his coaching work off the field is progressing strongly according to Nigel Pearson
Nigel Pearson has tipped Bristol City midfielder Andy King to have a successful career as a coach when the veteran midfielder decides to hang his boots up from professional football.
Following a 2021/22 campaign overshadowed by injury troubles, there was much speculation as to whether King would depart the club last summer. But at the start of the campaign, the 34-year-old signed a one-year contract extension at BS3, in a new role as a player-coach.
Despite an increase in responsibilities, King was adamant that he still wanted to be recognised as a player. Though he hasn't started for the Robins since their Boxing Day defeat to West Bromwich Albion, he played a vital part by filling in at centre-back for Pearson’s side in the early months of the season, as several of the club's defenders were unavailable.
With just three months of the campaign remaining, it is unclear whether King will seek to stay at City to further his coaching progress or look at opportunities away from the club. Whatever happens, his manager is adamant that the ex-Leicester City man will have a prosperous post-playing career.
“I think he’ll be an excellent coach when he decides to stop playing,” he said. “But, he's still got value for us as a player too. I think as much as anything, while he’s in this role, it's important for him to use it as an opportunity to find out more about himself.
“He’s also doing work with the academy sides and I think that is an important step because one of the things that you don’t necessarily recognise when you are a player is how you feel about yourself when you're actually talking as a coach. It’s a completely different skill set, some people find the transition very very easy, and some find it a bit more difficult.”
Pearson’s backing of King’s coaching ability is no fresh revelation, in fact, when the veteran’s player-coach deal was announced last June, Pearson admitted that he wouldn’t be surprised to see King in the manager's seat at Ashton Gate one day.
King has been completing his FAW (Football Association of Wales) coaching badges over the last few years alongside playing and is planning steadily for life after professional football, and his experienced manager admitted that he has seen senior players go down the route previously in his career.
“It's not the first time I've been at a club where someone has decided to do that, it's important for players to explore how they’re going to move forward as well. In terms of Andy King, his football knowledge and his way of sharing his experiences has been invaluable to us - and to a lot of his teammates.”