Charlton AthleticSport

“I had grown frustrated” – Jason Euell on the wait for a first-team coaching role at Charlton Athletic

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Jason Euell has spoken of his frustration at a lack of coaching progression at Charlton Athletic before he landed a major promotion at the start of April.

The 44-year-old South Londoner had been in charge of the club’s development team since 2013.

But Lambeth-born Euell felt that a step up was blocked until a productive chat at the end of last year with Ged Roddy, who was brought in as technical director in October by owner Thomas Sandgaard.

The former AFC Wimbledon and Addicks player was appointed as first-team coach shortly after Nigel Adkins replaced Lee Bowyer in the Valley hotseat.

“One of the things Ged said was that, within his role, it would be looking to promote from within when the opportunity is there – similar to doing that with players,” Euell told the South London Press. “He said it was just as important with coaches.

“I told him that was brilliant to hear, because it had never been said before when there had been all the chopping and changing with managers. It’s not that you’re wishing for change to happen, but it was something to look forward to. It opens the door, so there is a pathway at the club.

“Once Nigel [Adkins] came in I had a conversation with Ged. It was Nigel who mentioned it to me on the Friday [after his appointment], in the way that he was expecting me to be with him already on that first initial stage.

“He came in with no team and his thinking was that I’d already be involved with the first team. It didn’t happen straight away but it eventually got done. That’s the plus side – that it was spoken about months before and then it did happen. I’m pleased on that.”

Euell has helped to develop the likes of Joe Aribo, Ademola Lookman, Joe Gomez and Jordan Cousins. He has never hidden his desire to eventually strike out as a boss in his own right.

Euell also twice applied when the Wimbledon job became available.

Being named as a coach for England U20s in September 2019 did provide a fresh dynamic.

Asked if he had grown frustrated at not being involved on a first-team level, he replied: “Massively, yeah. Without a doubt. This came at the right time for me – personally and professionally and I’m not afraid to say it.

“I was open for change. Did that stop me doing my job? No. That never stopped or lowered. I knew what my role was and my duty to the younger players who I worked with. I love doing what I do, whatever age group it is.

“But I always do an end of season review for myself – what is next for me and what do I still need to stretch and challenge myself? Where I’ve been able to work with England it has given me that breathing space that I’m still learning and stretching myself somewhere else that I can bring back to Charlton.

“The amount of time I was doing the U23s was probably longer than what I should’ve done.

“But knowing where you want to go and what you want to do, you still have to make sure that the time is right for that to happen.

“I could’ve said four years ago: ‘Right, I’ve had enough of U23s’. But where do I go? What do I do? It doesn’t mean if I go elsewhere the grass is going to be greener, just to make a change because I’ve been doing a certain age group too long.

“It doesn’t always work like that.

“It was making sure that when I had that change it was the right time and the right thing to go into.”

Now Euell, who made 171 appearances in two spells with Charlton, gets to learn under Adkins. The former Southampton, Scunthorpe, Reading and Hull chief is coming up on 550 matches in the dugout.

“With the manager that is in place now, that can only aid my progression even more,” said Euell.

“Because you’re working with someone who has got the experience but also the way he is as a person – not just to me but to everyone else.

“At this moment in time it is just full focus on preparing the boys to try and win as many games as we can to get into the play-offs. That’s the short term.

“I briefly had a conversation with Nigel on Tuesday and it was about moving forward. What do we do? How do we do it? What does it look like? I said: ‘At the moment myself and Jacko [Johnnie Jackson, assistant manager] are following your lead. You’ve come in with not long left in the season – a crucial time. We’re just going to keep reinforcing the messages you are giving to the boys. We’re also going to put our bits in, which stays in line with what you need from the boys’.

“I said that once it comes to pre-season, and we know what league we’re in, that’s when we can sit down and start discussing what we want things to look like in the new season.

“The sole aim right now is to get in the play-offs and try to get promoted.

“I’m still getting to know him [Adkins] and he is still getting to know me, as well as trying to put a team and squad together to win football matches.

“The way he is doing it is implementing those foundations for players and staff, so we know what we are going off of. At the moment it is not trying to complicate things in a short space of time.

“We’re bouncing off each other. We’re just getting that cohesion so we get the best possible results between now and the end of the season.”

Charlton head into tomorrow’s match at Accrington knowing wins in their final three games will clinch a play-off position.

“It’s down to us and what we do – we don’t have to rely on anyone else,” said Euell, part of Chris Powell’s 2011-12 title-winning team.

“We’ve got that game in hand. Some people look and say it isn’t a blessing. But for the situation we’re in now, it’s brilliant we’ve got a game in hand.”

PICTURES: PAUL EDWARDS AND KEITH GILLARD

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