Former West Brom midfielder Jonathan Greening eyeing up a coaching career
Jonathan Greening only retired from playing football last May, but now he’s eyeing up a career in coaching.
The former Baggies man was determined to keep up his football for as long as possible, and spent the last two seasons of his career with Evo-Stik North side Tadcaster Albion.
But having already completed his Uefa B and A licences when he was playing for Nottingham Forest, he’s now planning to take his Uefa Pro Licence next year.
The 39-year-old, who spent six memorable years at the Baggies, is currently coaching university students alongside other ex-professionals at the i2i International Soccer Academy in York.
“It keeps me on the training field,” he told the Express & Star. “I’m starting my pro-licence next year.
“I’ve done a bit of academy football but I’m trying to get myself back into the pro game. I’d rather be a first team coach, assistant manager, or a manager. Bit there’s that many people trying to get into the pro game it’s hard.
“You need clubs to be brave, and take a punt on someone. I just need to be patient.”
Greening was a coach for Forest’s under-21s before he took over York City’s under-18s, but when former Celtic player Jackie McNamara took over as manager in 2015, he brought his own people with him.
Now the former Baggies favourite coaches gifted students of York St John University along side former Birmingham City midfielder Bryan Hughes, former Stoke man Richard Cresswell and ex-York goalkeeper Michael Ingham.
“The lads do a degree in the morning, and then we train them every day from 2pm until 5pm,” explained Greening. “It’s like an elite academy you’d get get at a club.
“The kids get the best of both worlds, a degree at the end of the it, and some coaching in the afternoon. This is our third year.
“We’ve got some really good kids, a couple of lads got into semi-pro teams, and one young lad joined a pro league in Tunisia. The aim is to get them into a pro team in England which would be fantastic.”
Greening’s long-term aim is to break into coaching, but he’s looking forward to stepping back out on the hallowed Hawthorns turf in the more immediate future.
Once the season finishes in May, Greening is taking part in a ‘Play with a Legend’ event alongside former team-mates Russell Hoult and Paul Robinson.
“I’m getting a bit tubby around the waste, but I still go to gym three or four times a week, so I’m still quite fit,” said Greening. “I’ve also played in a couple of charity games over the last couple of months.
“It will be nice to spary a few passes on the Hawthorns pitch. It’ll be the first time I’ve been back in a long time. I went back when I went to Fulham, but didn’t think I’d ever get to go back again.
“We had some great times, me, Houlty and Robbo. We were part of the Great Escape all those years ago.
“It will be really nice to catch up with them. Robbo’s taking a team, Houlty’s taking a team and I’m taking a team and we’re having a mini-tournament. I’m sure they’ll both be wanting to be win!
“It’s an opportunity for fans to come and play with us and have a couple of drinks in the bar afterwards. We’re all three looking forward to it.”
If you want to play alongside Greening, Robinson, and Hoult on Thursday, May 15, visit www.playwithalegend.com/west-brom-2018