Chelsea are pioneering a “coaching revolution” by loaning a member of their academy’s management team to gain experience in the Football League’s first team.
James Simmonds works as the Under-18 Blues’ assistant manager and will spend the 2021/22 season alongside AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Robinson.
Robinson pitched the idea of loaning staff looking for experience coaching first-team players in a meeting with Chelsea bosses, who were extremely impressed with his proposal.
The two clubs then struck a deal for Simmonds to join the seconded League One squad, Robinson citing last season’s previous positive experience alongside then-England Under-17 coach Justin. Cochrane.
“When I made a presentation to Chelsea about us loaning their best young professionals, I also mentioned the possibility that we bring their best young coaches and give them first-team experience,” he said. declared to Donations official website .
Robinson added: “I was really happy with how it worked out with Justin Cochrane from England last season.
“We have benefited from his coaching ideas and his overall love of the game and I know he has benefited from the experience he has gained with us.
“It will be exactly the same with James, who has coached with Chelsea for 10 years.
“He is a high quality coach, who has tremendous enthusiasm about him and who will come to us with fresh eyes, which is healthy when you continuously change your work environment and build a culture.”
Chelsea are hoping Simmonds – who rose through the academy ranks with Scott Sinclair, Michael Mancienne, Ryan Bertrand and Scott Sinclair – will develop as a coach during his time at Plow Lane.
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The former Republic of Ireland junior international spent time with Dover Athletic and Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain before returning to Cobham Blues base as a coach.
Wimbledon, meanwhile, will expect Robinson’s new squad member to help him improve from last season’s 19th place finish to third tier.
Chelsea are no stranger to loaning countless players – in fact, they have a reputation for doing so – but sending in a staff member looking for experience is a new strategy.
Last season, the Blues agreed to loan an impressive 39 players during the summer and winter transfer windows.
Loans made have so far been scarce, but Chelsea have already generated significant income by selling Fikayo Tomori to AC Milan for £ 25million.
The England center-back initially joined the Serie A giants on loan in January and his impressive form prompted the San Siro chiefs to sign him for good.