PRE-SEASON officially gets underway for Leeds United on Monday and for head coach Uwe Rosler, it is the chance to make his mark and really do what he wants to do ahead of when the Championship season begins on August 8.
It is a really important time – especially for a new manager.
He will get to know the psyche of the player in the coming days and weeks; which ones he feels will run through a brick wall for him and the others who he might not have the same opinion on.
It will obviously be a learning curve for him, being new to the club, but pre-season now getting underway will be good for both sides, the players and the coaching staff.
I don’t know Uwe that well, but seeing him on the touchline at Brentford with the passion that he displayed, it is clear that the way he manages does seem similar to the way he played.
He played the game at full tilt at 100 per cent and you knew what you were going to get from him all of the time and he was very popular because of that during his time at Manchester City.
I think that is what you get from him as a manager as well.
I think he is one who will expect a lot from his players – someone who will expect the commitment that he gave himself in his playing days on the pitch to be shown by his players.
When you get a new manager or head coach in, it is better for that to happen before pre-season, so he can use that time to get used to the players. Last season, Leeds changed coaches in mid-stream and that for me is not a very good thing, most of the time.
They made a few changes during the season, which is not ideal.
It is good that the players will be able to get used to Uwe’s way of thinking in the coming weeks in training in terms of what he expects from them, early doors. They will learn to know how he works and what he likes and won’t tolerate either.
When Leeds go onto the pitch against Burnley in their first league game, all the players will be clued up and will be able to say: ‘Right, we know what we need to do to impress the manager and to keep ourselves in this team throughout this season.’
Thinking back to pre-season when I was playing, it was pretty much all about running. Now the modern-day players do all the scientific testings before it starts and often have two or three days doing the tests first.
After that, it is more football-related than it used to be in the early part of pre-season.
I remember someone who used to play for Wolves once told me that when Graham Taylor was manager there, that they didn’t see a ball for three weeks!
But that has all changed now.
When I was a manager, I liked to get the ball out as much as I could early on as you run around on a football pitch with the ball or trying to get the ball. As a player, you don’t run seven or eight miles without a ball.
You don’t learn about holding off tackles and holding people off when you are plodding around doing a long run.
Although, obviously, fitness work plays a part with building your stamina up to be ready for the start of the season on the first day and getting the core fitness for the rest of the season as well. But there’s more ball work now.
When I was at Leeds, we used to run around Roundhay Park and did a few bits and bats running around there. Also running up and down the streets at times.
We also used the two pitches on the car park next to Elland Road and did a fair bit on there.
When I first went to Leeds, Eddie Gray was manager. But it was Billy Bremner who was more of the one who took us around Roundhay Park than probably Eddie.
There’s a time for it, but I don’t think the players will be doing that these days!
I remember when I was managing at Oldham and my assistant Willie Donachie used to be at the front, beating all the lads there.
Leeds have brought in Sol Bamba and are busy looking for other signings. For me, they still need to strengthen all over the pitch – as they were inconsistent last season still.
Up front, they still need somebody for me, even though they have signed young Lee Erwin from Motherwell.
To put everything on his shoulders would be tough.
For me, Leeds also need someone in midfield with Rodolph Austin leaving.
My personal view when the decision was made was that it might be a bit of a mistake and when he heard that he had been freed, it came as a bit of a surprise.
When Rodolph was playing at the level everyone knew he can, he was a handful and I thought he got back to that towards the end of last season with his performances. I expected Leeds to offer him a new deal, I have got to say. Obviously, it’s great news for everyone about Sol coming to the club on a full-time basis.
From when Sol came in, he has looked a leader and someone with those qualities.
He can organise people and has a lot of passion about the game as well and will be an asset to have around full-time.
He’s also a big strong lad as well and he’s a very good full-time addition to the squad and it is great they have got Sol on a permanent basis.
He is the type of player Leeds needed at the back.
I know they have players who can mix it, but they needed a player like him.
It’s a very good signing which the fans also wanted and that’s a great start.