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  • Damien Duff: There’s no other place in the world I want to be

    Damien Duff: There’s no other place in the world I want to be

    By: Joe Donnelly on 16 Jan, 2019 16:31

  • IN a career spanning three decades, Damien Duff made over 500 appearances at senior club level, and earned a century of caps for the Republic of Ireland. He captained the Irish national team during Euro 2012, and his honours list includes two English Premier League titles, two English League Cups and an English FA Community Shield.

    Last week, Duff joined Tommy McIntyre at Celtic’s Professional Academy as assistant manager of the Reserve squad. Today, he admitted there’s no other place in the world he’d rather be.

    “I’ve brought my wife over here, and I’ve taken my kids out of school to come here,” Damien Duff said in an exclusive interview with Celtic TV. “There’s no other place in the world, or any other club, that I would have left Ireland for, at the minute anyway, in my coaching career.

    “The club asked me to come over and interview, which was a very tough process. Thankfully I got the job, and it was an easy decision. And thankfully my wife and kids were happy to come as well, so they’re settled in school and we’re all good.

    “It’s been great so far, and it’s been tiring. It’s the first time in my life I’ve worked proper hours, in at eight in the morning and home for five or six. You don’t see that side of things when you’re a professional footballer. But it’s brilliant.

    "I’ve been retired for three years or so, and I think one of things you miss most, it’s not necessarily the football, but it’s being around football people 24/7. I’ve got that back in my life now, I can’t switch off now when I go home, but I’ve really, really enjoyed it so far.”

    Ten days into the job, Duff drew parallels between the early stages of his coaching career and that of young players aiming to break into the senior squad. As an ex-winger, he named Ryan Giggs a source of inspiration in his younger years, as well as Kenny Dalglish during his time at Blackburn Rovers.

    Likewise, Duff praised Tommy McIntyre, Chris McCart, Chris Davies and Brendan Rodgers – describing the Hoops boss as one of the best managers in the world.

    He added: “I’m only a baby in coaching terms, I’m not claiming to know everything and I’m here to learn. It’s an amazing learning environment, and I just want to be a top coach, and see where that takes me, whether that’s management or wherever. I was nervous on my first day, I’m still a bit nervous now, and I don’t really think that will change, nerves are good. I’m here to learn and get better and help people.

    “The gaffer has been great, he’s top-class and he’s one of the best managers in the world. That’s a fact, and I think the club is lucky to have him. It all stems from him, he’s the figurehead.”

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