Bristol Rovers coach hopes to graduate from same school Arteta and Vieira studied as he names major influences

Joey Barton’s trusted right hand-man at Bristol Rovers has been studying on the same course as a few familiar names

<p>Andy Mangan is stuying for his UEFA Pro Licence with the Football Association of Wales Trust. (Image: Bristol Rovers)</p>

Andy Mangan is stuying for his UEFA Pro Licence with the Football Association of Wales Trust. (Image: Bristol Rovers)

Bristol Rovers coach Andy Mangan was back in the classroom this week as he underwent the first part of his UEFA Pro Licence course, as hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira

Mangan was away from Rovers’ training facilities in Almondsbury and has been based in Newport, as he begins a 14-month learning journey to earn the highest qualification a coach can have in the game.

Enrolled onto the course run by the Football Association of Wales, Mangan has a cohort with the likes of former Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak, as well as Real Madrid’s assistant manager Davide Ancelotti.

The course has notable alumni in two current Premier League managers in Arsenal boss Arteta, Crystal Palace chief Vieira and Roberto Martinez, manager of Belgium, who are the world’s best ranked international team.

And in his first week of studying, the Rovers first-team coach has gained valuable experience that he can take back to the Memorial Stadium.

The 36-year-old has gone under numerous scenarios as part of his learning, such as; preparing for a mock job interview with one of Rovers’ League Two rivals, conducting a press conference as the manager of his beloved Liverpool as well as trying to outwit the master tactician Pep Guardiola.

Andy Mangan is on the same course that Mikel Arteta and Patrick Viera once studied on. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“What has happened has been fascinating, I had a week to prepare for an interview for a mock exam as if I was going to take the Newport County role,” Mangan said, before proceeding to give an insight into his experience.

“It was excellent, I had to delve into what Newport County were trying to do and it was interesting.

“I believe they (the FAW) give you the freedom to find what type of coach you are and there is no right or wrong answer as long as you can explain that answer to them, which is incredible.

“All the mentors have helped me through to help me to be the coach that I am today. I’m really proud, the FAW Pro Licence is really sought after at the moment.

“Mikel Arteta has come through here and is doing really well, as well as Roberto Martinez and Pep Lijnders. They are really successful people and on the journey, I’ve had through the Welsh system, I’ve had such a good experience.

“Looking at the likes of Arteta and Lindjers, studying what they are doing and what they do. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to speak to them myself. I take inspiration from everyone, not only from the FAW, I try to take a bit of inspiration from them all.”

“I’m a student of the game, I really do love football. I watch all the different techniques that people use.”

Micky Mellon may be a promotion rival but Andy Mangan has admiration for his former boss. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

As he takes in all kinds of coaching information, Mangan has named Aston Villa and Liverpool forward Dean Saunders, as well as his former manager Micky Mellon as his major coaching influences.

Mellon, who signed the forward five times at multiple clubs, is the manager of Tranmere Rovers, who are one of Rovers’ rivals for either an automatic or play-off spot.

Tranmere, who are tied on 63 points with the Gas, host Joey Barton’s side at Prenton Park next Saturday, and the two are in direct competition, with Mangan hoping to get one over his former gaffer.

But ahead of that meeting, Mangan has described the significant impact the Scottish boss has had on his coaching career.

“The one who really influenced me is Micky Mellon, who signed me at Tranmere and Shrewsbury,” he revealed.

“He’s been a really big influence. When I met him, the way he wanted to play football was the way I wanted to play football. with the ball on the floor and creating overloads everywhere.”

“I’m really lucky to have played for two managers for an awfully long time.

“John Coleman at Accrington Stanley and has been involved in the game for 25 years. He’s done unbelievable as a manager, taking them from the Unibond right up to League One, competing with the likes of Sunderland and Ipswich.

“Dean Saunders is another big influence. I had him at Wrexham and he taught me how to break a team down.

“As well as how to structurally set up a team, I spoke to Deano for 18 months and it was intense.

“Micky probably got the best side out of me because of Deano. He’s a real student of the game because he coached with John Toshack, so he’s a really good coach.”

Away from those who he played under during his playing career, there have also been former coaches and players that have enrolled on to the same courses as him, that he has learned some from his peers.

Some of the coaching educators are managers of semi-professional or amateur clubs, whereas Mangan is a coach at a full-time professional outfit.

Despite those differences though, Mangan is still gaining valuable learning experience and applying the information to his own setting.

“Carl Darlington has been great for me, Gavin Chesterfield and Gus Davies and Alan Bickerstaff, I’ve taken knowledge from all of them,” he said.

“They have helped me through my journey. The level of support from those coaches and these men have been so good I consider them friends.

“I consider them as friends, I see if they want to come to Liverpool games with me or watch Bristol Rovers.

“In terms of the players I’ve met on these courses, Lee Bowyer. He was here for my C, B, and A Licence. I was on with Tim Cahill who was a good friend and I learned a lot from him.

“As well as the advice from Garry Monk on how you deal with players is spot on. It’s how you treat them, how they learn and you are a student of the game. As a coach though you’re a psychologist, you’re a dad, a brother and you’re the really annoyed uncle who wants the best out of them.”