Experienced midfielder Andy King has taken his first steps into coaching after agreeing to a player-coach role with Bristol City.
The 33-year-old made 15 appearances across all competitions last season in his first season as a City player and will now combine his playing duties with coaching.
King had been one of the four players out of contract this summer but has since accepted Nigel Pearson’s invitation to join his coaching staff, joining Timm Klose and Will Buse in committing their future to the club.
He is the second appointment of the week after Jason Euell left a similar role at Charlton Athletic to assist the 58-year-old for the upcoming season.
The pair will work alongside Pearson, assistant Curtis Fleming, goalkeeping coach Pat Mountain and Paddy Orme who has taken a more hands on role.
Speaking at the High Performance Centre to the written media last Friday, Pearson said: “It’s important that when we have talented football people in the building, we invest time in young players that we can see a future in, and it’s also important that we invest time in talented football people towards the end of their career.”
The 50-time Wales capped midfielder already holds the UEFA A Licence, which is the second highest coaching qualification someone can hold.
King has had a long 16-year playing career, mainly spent at Leicester City, where he worked with Pearson for six years experiencing the most successful spell in the club’s history.
During their time in the Midlands, King won the League One title, as well as the Championship when working alongside Pearson, who he has been with at three teams; Leicester, OHL and now Bristol City.
In their success in the third tier, Chris Powell was introduced to the coaching staff as a player-coach and now King is following in his footsteps.
Powell has since gone on to manage Huddersfield Town and Charlton Athletic, whilst he is now part of Gareth Southgate’s England backroom staff.
And having helped forge the coaching career of Powell, Pearson has made a claim that boyhood City fan King could one day coach the Robins.
He added: “What do I mean by that? I think he’s got a future in the game as a coach and probably a manager.
“He’s here, he’s very keen to stay and, you never know, he might manage the club one day. Why not invest time in him? And he’s still got a lot to offer as a player as well.”
Depsite King’s move into the coaching setup, it is expected that King’s priorities will remain on the playing side of things with this acting as an opportunity for him to test the waters.
He will continue to train as a player and will wear the purple player training kit, compared to the black shirt’s and jackets that the coaching staff can be seen in.
Clarifying his position, Pearson said: “He’s already a good coach as a player. The only thing I’d say is that he is bright enough, he’s got the game understanding. He’s still ambitious. He’ll make a good manager.
“He is remaining very much a player. He’s not getting changed in a black kit, he’s still in the player’s kit and it’ll remain like that. He wants to still play and that is very important. I’ve done it other clubs with Chris Powell at Leicester. Chris has had a really good career so far.
“I just see it as being an opportunity to at least let talented players who I think or we think can be talented coaches and managers explore the possibilities without the real pressure being their first job if you like. I just think it’s a sensible move for us as a club and for Kingy’s development it’ll be very good.”