Aston Villa favourite to continue in coaching role after sealing promotion

Conor Hourihane during his time at Aston Villa
-Credit: (Image: Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Former Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane has returned to Bodymoor Heath to continue his coaching role within the academy, after leaving promoted Derby County. Midfielder Hourihane signed a two-year deal at Derby in the summer of 2022 but he took on the role with Villa in parallel with his playing commitments last summer.

Hourihane started working towards his coaching badges four years ago, and confirmed he would be coaching Villa under-16s from September of last year. The youngsters train in the evenings, and Hourihane has remained in the Birmingham area so it has been convenient for all parties as he turns now more than one eye towards a career in coaching.

Hourihane, who helped Villa to promotion in 2019 and who made 132 appearances between 2017 and 2021, told the Athletic: "The more I’ve become obsessed with coaching, I’ve transferred everything onto my laptop. I’ve got sessions, notes and presentations. For example, I have information on set plays and how I see my team with or without the ball, explaining how I will press in a particular formation.

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“I use a software called Sportscode, where I get games off one of our (Derby) analysts. I will clip up patterns of play that I like so I don’t forget them. I’ve watched a lot of Arsenal’s set plays this year because they’ve been great. It’s just a constant clipping portfolio of all aspects of the game. I’ve built up a big bible.”

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On being able to work closely in the same environment as Unai Emery, Hourihane added: “It’s his intensity and his detail. He splits the group up and takes certain individuals away at certain times of the day. He’s big on units and individual work and improving the player first before anything else. It’s been fascinating. It just shows you with unbelievable coaching and work ethic, you can get the best out of players.”

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