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‘You won’t play’ – Charlton boss Dean Holden on the non-negotiables he expects from his players

Dean Holden has talked about the “non-negotiables” which all of his Charlton squad will have to give – or face being left on the sidelines.

The Addicks made it three League One victories on the bounce after Saturday’s 2-0 success over Barnsley at The Valley.

And Charlton TV host Scott Minto, who played full-back in SE7, has talked about Holden, 43, having the “right blend of old school and new school”.

“Fair, probably,” Holden told the South London Press, when asked about Minto’s comment. “I watched David Moyes’ [The Diary Of A CEO] podcast with Steven Bartlett the other day, he’s 59 and saying how he constantly has to keep up.

“I’m very proud of my working class background. What is that old-school he is talking about? It’s basics which I think should never be forgotten about – standards, discipline, respect and hard work. They are non-negotiable. We speak about them every day.

“The new-school is probably because of the way I’m so open around psychology, my passion for that, some of the things I do in my private life, my use of analysis.

“A couple of the psych guys from the University of Greenwich are coming to us next week. I bumped into someone at the game at the weekend and the club has got a connection to the university. I did it at Stoke. I went into [City of] Stoke-on-Trent [University], they have a big psychology department.

“It’s being open-minded and tapping into all these types of things, trying to improve the football club as a whole aside from the results on a Saturday.”

If a manager is described solely as old-school, it is often seen as a derogatory term.

“Absolutely spot on,” said Holden. “Where the world is at the moment, in terms of young players and young people – my two oldest boys are 14 and 15 – they are different to what we were.

“You do have to spend more time explaining things – giving them the why.

“If you go back to classic old-school, that was Big Sam [Allardyce] at Bolton. Some of his methods were very new-school – the psychology and analysis – but the mentality was a dictatorship, telling players what to do. It doesn’t work like that any more.

“You’ve got to get to know the players. It’s easy for me to do because it is a passion that I’ve got. You get to know the person behind the player, spend time connecting with them. Not just the starters, it’s just as important with the lads who are not in the team and the injured boys.

“It’s probably been more time-consuming than it was back in the old days.”

Charlton moved into the top half of the table after defeating the Tykes. Holden was appointed a month ago, succeeding Ben Garner.

“What did I find when I came in? I’ll be honest – I found a lot of lack of confidence and a flat environment,” he said. “That then led, naturally, to a little bit of the standards needing lifting. But it maybe came from a period where the players had got away from what they set in the summer.

“Every pre-season, like I did on my first day, you get a pact. What are we going for? You need a destination, otherwise you just drift.

“Our destination, at that point, was mid-table. We didn’t put any particular time frame on it, we talked around that. It needed a shared purpose. Standards did need lifting on the training ground.

“I watched the games on telly and had been to some games. There was a lot of good stuff with the ball – but a lot of non-negotiables that were being ignored without the ball. Recovery runs have to be a sprint – simple as that.

“I saw a lot of arms going up in the air, a bit of an apathetic attitude – both in the stands and on the pitch. I’m not having someone throwing their arms up in the air and walking – you won’t play.

“That’s where we’ve seen the biggest upside – without the ball. We’re running more. We look a lot more determined.”

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