Steven Whittaker says he hopes to take lessons from Tony Mowbray and Walter Smith into his coaching career as the former Norwich City defender retires from football.
Whittaker will form part of former Norwich City manager Peter Grant’s new backroom team at Dunfermline Athletic in the Scottish Championship next season. Former boss Stevie Crawford brought Whittaker to Dunfermline as a player-coach last season but the former Scotland international will fully focus on coaching in the 2021/22 campaign.
The 36-year-old said: “Towards the end of the season, this was in my thoughts. I was only willing to go year by year. I didn’t want to commit to anything that I didn’t know I could fulfil, I’m not that type of person. So I said to Stevie [Crawford] last year, ‘let’s do one season, I’ll give you my all then we’ll reassess’.
“Last season was a hard campaign for everyone and I got a real feel for the coaching side of it. I spoke to Peter Grant and he wanted me to transition onto the staff and we managed to put the pieces in place for that. I’m thrilled with how it has unfolded.
“The club was always in constant dialogue with me, they were great. Ross McArthur, the chairman, was on the ball always speaking to me and Stevie before he made his choice which was right for him. Then as soon as Peter got announced he was straight on the phone.”
Several managers have worked with the former Norwich City defender, who had two spells at Hibs and a lengthy Rangers stint. It’s Mowbray and Smith who rub off most: “I wouldn’t say that there was any particular one, different managers have had different impacts on me throughout my career.
“I could go through every one but there are people like Tony Mowbray who took over a Hibs team and had us play a style of football that was exciting and fun to play in.
Walter Smith with the mentality side of winning games and being at Rangers had a massive impact on how you see the game and how you have to demand standards to win games.
“You go down south and you play a more tactical game down there. You come up against these Premier League managers whose tactics are everything in this day and age – the formations, the details and positions that they go into now. I learned a lot of that kind of stuff in England as well.
“Just trying to gather all that together and make the most of the information that I might be passing on or helping the staff, Peter or Greg or the players in any way. Hopefully with the experience that I have gained I can be a big help.”
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