After spending a career mentoring some of today’s top footballing talents, Dan Micciche is hoping that his former players can now help England to Nations League success, writes Katy Lelliott.
Dan has had a career spanning teams including Tottenham, the England national team set-up and Milton Keynes Dons, where he has coached the likes of Dele Alli and Phil Foden.
Dan’s current role is as head coach of Arsenal’s under-15s, where – despite only being in the job six months – he has already received a promotion to phase lead for the under-15s and under-16s, after winning two major tournaments in his time there.
After spending years working as the FA’s National Technical Lead and England’s youth team head coach, many of Dan’s former players are now making a name for themselves in the senior squad, and Dan believes that this team now has the right blend of players to win some major trophies.
The 39-year old said: “All our young English players have got better at tournament football because they’ve been exposed to more of it at club level so when they get to the England set-up, they’re more prepared.
“Looking at the demographics now in this country, we’ve got young players who have grown up in other countries, so they’ve got a different feel for the ball and with that blend, with the sort of traditional English type of player, I think we’ve got a good mix now.”
With England set to face Holland in the Nations League semi-final in June, Dan is hopeful that they can go on to win the game and progress to the final.
Dan said: “England are going into the game with a lot of confidence.
“They’re scoring goals and they’ve also got good defensive stability so I think a lot of it will depend on how fresh the players are going into it, and who’s out injured.”
One of these players out injured is Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, who Dan worked with while coaching at England.
Despite this injury setback, Dan says that the signs for Hudson-Odoi’s success were there early on.
He explained, “Callum, for his age, was very talented. He always played a year up at Chelsea, so when he was an under-14, he would be playing in under-15s and scoring 30 or 40 goals a season.”
Dan spent many years at MK Dons, coaching the youth team and then moving on to a spell as the first-team manager, and he says he’s always grateful with the reception he receives when he returns.
He said: “I regularly go to games when I can with my children, who are fans of the club, and I’ve been overwhelmed with how the supporters, players and staff have welcomed me back.”