What Nathan Jones told Chris Cohen about Stoke City as summer homework revealed

Chris Cohen has been appointed new assistant head coach at Stoke City.
-Credit: (Image: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Chris Cohen has watched a dozen Stoke City matches from last season and has been ordering clips and data from analysts for further homework so he can make a sprint start as coach when players report for pre-season training in just over a week’s time.

Cohen has arrived at Clayton Wood as assistant head coach, appointed by Jon Walters and reunited with Steven Schumacher, with whom he spent two years studying for the pro licence coaching badge.

He had just spent six months as assistant head coach at Lincoln City – helping turnaround their season in a push for the League One play-off places – and now he is making the most of joining Stoke in close season and the time to plan what happens next.

“We’re really fortunate these days with things like WyScout and clips from matches and I’ve watched the last 10 or dozen games that the club played last season so that gives me a good understanding of what I’m coming into,” he said.

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“We’ve also got data analysts here every day sending me different bits of data that I’ve asked for about each individual so I can sit down with them and explain things like where they’re at and maybe areas that they can improve on.

“It’s been really nice for me, actually, because I’ve had this time to do that rather than the jobs I’ve been into before when you’re in and you’re trying to win games straight away as you’re trying to develop. Although they do go hand in hand, having this time now hopefully, when the players come in, I can be ready for them, alongside our really good coaching staff, to try to help them really quickly to develop.”

Cohen joins Mark Hughes, who is also assistant head coach and Peter Cavanagh in the coaching set-up as well as Alex Morris, who stepped over from the under-21s to focus on the first team in the spring. There is keeper coach Darren Behcet too, who was actually in West Ham’s academy with Cohen while they were still at primary school.

It has a club that has had a lot of turnover behind the scenes and on the pitch over the last six or seven years but there is belief that the system they have put or are putting in place will bring stability and ultimately success.

“It’s exciting,” said Cohen. “There aren’t many clubs up and down the country who are backed like Stoke are by the owners, a family that is really invested in the area and the football club for a long period of time. There’s obviously Jonathan Walters coming back, a legend here as a player who has the club’s best interests at heart.

“There a lots of good people and lots of the conversations I’ve had have been about the long-term but we obviously know – I know as a coach and as a coaching staff – that we need to win games in the short-term too. But the long-term vision for the football club is really exciting. It’s now about turning that into results very quickly on the pitch.”

Cohen’s close friend Nathan Jones was one of those managers who have come and gone since Stoke were relegated to the Championship. They worked together at Luton and Southampton and, despite anything, Jones couldn’t recommend Stoke highly enough as a place to coach.

“I know that his relationship with supporters is probably not what he would have hoped it would have been and that the time didn’t go as he would have liked,” said Cohen.

“But he only speaks really, really highly of the football club, speaks really highly of the fans and really highly of the owners and the people who work at the football club. When I spoke to him about coming in he said, ‘You’ll absolutely love it. There's so many good people.’

“So I know his relationship with fans isn’t as he would have hoped coming here but he also understands that he needed to win games and he didn’t and that’s just football.”

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