Shaun Williams reveals one aspect of being player-coach under Gary Rowett which has surprised him

Shaun Williams has spoken about joining Millwall’s coaching team – and that Gary Rowett has already shown he trusts him with information.

The 34-year-old is combining playing with being part of the Lions management group this season.

Williams was promoted when Rowett freshened up his coaching structure in the summer. Adam Barrett stepped up to assistant – filling the void left by Callum Davidson’s depature to St Johnstone.

The Dublin-born midfielder is player-coach and said: “I’m really enjoying it. It’s an eye-opener – I didn’t realise the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes because usually we just turn up and everything is laid out for us. We come and train and then go back home.

“And they are there well before we get there, and they are there a long time after we leave as well. I’ve learned quite a lot so far.

“I thought he [Rowett] would be quite filtered with me around – he’s not. It shows that he has the trust in me that I can be there for certain meetings.

“He phoned me the last week or two of last season and said would I be interested in it [the role]? He left me to think about it for the few weeks we had off. Then just before we came back in, he rang me again to see if I was still interested.

“At the point of my career I’m in now I don’t think it was an opportunity I could turn down. It wasn’t like I pushed to get the opportunity – it was handed to me, in a way.

“He’d only been here that season, so nine to 10 months, I must have earned his respect in that sense.”

Williams and club captain Alex Pearce became caretaker managers when Rowett, Joe Carnall and Barrett were forced to isolate – the first two testing positive for Covid-19.

Williams said: “We were more motivators than decision-makers but it was good to be involved in a matchday where you don’t have your boots on.

“The two of us really enjoyed it. We had the success at Preston, which everyone was on a high, and then got thumped against Huddersfield which brought us back to reality.”


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