BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Joe Edwards will be completely involved in Millwall’s transfer dealings despite the change in job title to head coach for the Den hotseat.
The 37-year-old is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the domestic game and has succeeded manager Gary Rowett, who left by mutual consent last month.
Some Lions fans have debated whether Edwards, who spent more than two decades at Chelsea and worked alongside Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel, would not have input on player trading.
But Millwall’s director of football operations and recruitment Alex Aldridge has spelled out that is not the case.
He told the South London Press: “The difference in title invites the question ‘what does that mean?’ but the reality is that it isn’t going to change the way we like to operate – which is always collaboratively.
“Given Joe’s background, I think he would describe himself as a head coach. What that means is the structures that are around him are club-owned but he is in the middle of that – driving it with us.
“If you take recruitment as an example then that will be myself, the recruitment department, Joe and the coaching staff working absolutely hand in hand to find the players that will make us better.
“There are clubs that operate where they sign the players and the head coach gets on with – I don’t think that works. Likewise I don’t think it works when the manager has complete say over everything, signs a player and the club just have to get on with it – they pick up the pieces if it goes wrong.
“There is a happy medium that, certainly in the Championship, the majority operate with. We’re no different.
“It’s also just a subtle nod that there are club-held strategies and club-held objectives that are for us to set and work, with Joe, to achieve. Maybe with more of the old-school manager type you gave them the keys to the club and paid them to manage the whole club.
“We know in Joe that we’ve got an exciting, energetic and dynamic coach – that is what he is outstanding at. It’s about taking away bits of the burden to enable him to focus on what he is very, very good at.
“Of course he fits right in with everything else we are doing.
“We’ve got the January transfer window coming up and beyond that – we’ll work closely with him to evolve the squad to keep trying to make it better, like we have year after year since we came up to the Championship.
“By joining us at this point, Joe has got a really good period of games – a couple of months with the busy Christmas schedule – to get a feel for the squad, settle into the role and make his assessments.
“You can have a very good opinion of players coming in from the outside but that may only be 50 per cent of it. There will be players in our squad that will probably surprise Joe, as he gets to work more with them, and there will be players in there that might not turn out to be what he expected.
“That will feed into January and what we need. That will be a process that we work together on.”
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