Elliott Ward enjoyed an 18-year career as a professional football player before moving into coaching in 2021, and is using what he learned during that time as he begins a second career in the game.
Having turned out in the English Premier League and Football League for clubs including West Ham United, Coventry City and Norwich City, the centre back hung up his boots while at Chelmsford City in the National League.
It was there, and at former side West Ham, that he began to cut his teeth as a coach, working with the youth players at both clubs.
In 2022, he made the switch from Chelmsford to Essex rivals Colchester United, where he is now head coach of the League Two outfit’s Under-18s side.
Elliott appeared for no fewer than 15 clubs, including some on loan, and says during that time he met many people who have influenced him on his coaching journey.
“A lot of different managers gave me lots of different bits,” Elliott said during our MiMentor Coaches Coffee Club chat.
“Even West Ham, it didn't go always go well with (Alan) Pardew before he put me in the team. But some of the stuff he used to coach, I've actually used this season, and that was 19 years ago that he coached certain things.”
Elliott continued: “I've had Sean O'Driscoll, which was really good for me. I played for him twice and I think his understanding of football and the detail is great.”
“I've told him this as well, but I didn't understand some of why he works the way he works. But then coming away from him and recognising how he worked, I then worked for Eddie Howe, who was a young version of Sean - in the nicest way.
“Eddie's one that I've learned loads from in terms of how football is played. Making sure training was always different, training was never the same with him.
“I could tell you what a centre-half would need to do in a 4-3-3, but I'd also be to be able to tell you what the winger could do, because he taught you every position.
"So you would train and learn in what we would think is a normal technical [practice], all of a sudden I'm rolling inside as a right winger because I know how to make the movement and receive it to play forward."
He added: “He would teach you everything your teammate would need from you as well.”
You can watch the full MiMentor Coaches Coffee Club with Elliott in the player below.