ELLIOTT: LAUDRUP IN GREAT COMPANY
Former Chelsea captain Paul Elliott admits it is no surprise to see Swansea manager Michael Laudrup succeeding in coaching.
Elliott played against the Dane while in Italy during the 1980s, and identified an intelligencein the then Juventus player which set him apart and has seen him take coaching roles at home, in Spain and Russia before arriving in south Wales and the Premier League over the summer.
'Michael Laudrup, I have got to say, what a player,' Elliott said as he recalled facing the playmaker while at Pisa.
'You had your Carecas, Marco Van Bastens, Diego Maradonas and Ruud Gullits, but Laudrup was in that company,' he continued. 'I marked him when he played for Juventus, and he had great touch, movement, strength, awareness. He could create and score goals. He could play up front but he was also intelligent enough to play deeper in the number 10 role.
'I have Michael Laudrup up there with the best of them, he was hugely gifted and you could tell with his intelligence that he would make a very good manager, which he has done.'
Elliott was speaking as he joined representatives from Kick It Out at Cobham on Friday as he helped the club host a workshop for the Black and Asian Coaching Association.
As a part of the One Game, One Community week of action, Elliott, along with TV commentator Clive Tyldesley, visited the training ground to support the initiative, which offered expert advice on non-playing roles within the game, from coaching and management to refereeing, media and administration.
'Chelsea have been excellent,' Elliott said. 'It's good to open up the doors and the club has always contributed very well to Kick It Out. It's very important that we continue that relationship.
'This is the power of a football club and the capacity it has to bring people together. It's a really strong message for Chelsea, and leadership is important in these areas.
'Football clubs are more than just that now, they are global brands who need to engage at all levels, and they are also the pillars of the local community, the heartbeat of the area, so these kinds of events that Chelsea facilitate is a great way of serving the community. These young people are the future supporters and hopefully players, and so it's all about what you give back to them and Chelsea have been exemplary in that.
'A lot of people talk about this kind of thing and don't deliver it. It is empty rhetoric, but Chelsea talk the talk and walk the walk.
'I've spoken to the youngsters here and a lot of them want to be footballers. I told them to chase their dream, but you also have to give them a reality that it is unlikely to happen. To be at the top of the game you have to be some individual, and less than one per cent get there, then the average career is eight years and more than 70 players leave the professional game each year through injury, so we have to understand all of that, but there are so many other pathways to employment in football. It isn't all about the elite game.
'I was very lucky when I came out of the game there was much more I could do, and now you can do first aid, be an administrator, be a referee, a coach, there are a huge range of things you can make a living from within the game. That's what you want to show people, and you want to encourage them to get qualifications because you can't just walk into it now.'