Simon Rusk was delighted to be confirmed as the new Brighton & Hove Albion under-21 coach and saw his side secure a 3-0 win over Newcastle United in his first official match in charge on Monday.
Rusk had stepped up to be interim coach following the departure of Simon Ireland last month and feels honoured to have been handed the opportunity on a permanent basis.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “It’s pleasing that the club have chosen me to take charge of the under-21 players at the club and obviously I’m proud to have any role here as it’s a great place to be.
“We’ve got some good people in the club and it’s pleasing to think that they feel I’m at the required level to do this job.
“I’m very proud, pleased and excited to be working at this level of football.”
The former Crawley Town and York City player says the transition from under-18 to under-21 coach has been relatively straightforward, especially after his interim six-game spell in charge before his appointment.
“In the first couple of games I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I’ve got good relationships with all of the players at the club and it wasn’t very difficult to be honest.
"I’ve been pleased with the response of the players; there have been some good performances and lots of positives in all the games.
“There has been some gradual progression in what I want to see on the pitch every week, which is very pleasing.”
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Finally, Rusk is very excited to be working closely with manager Chris Hughton and reflected on a successful spell coaching Albion’s under-18 side.
“I’ve always looked at my own progression as coach and as an under-21 coach I want to be working under a first-team manager that’s got great experience.
“The manager has experienced everything in the game. He’s worked in the top flight and has a great name in the game.
“I’m sure once he’s got things settled down he’ll help to develop me as a coach. That’s great for me and I’m looking forward to that.
“I’ve enjoyed my time working with the under-18s and it helped working with some excellent players with really good attitudes, which is the most important thing at that age group.
“I now know the under-14, 15, and 16 players very well and I’m looking forward to coaching those players in the under-21s one day. Continuity helps and I’m pleased they’ve chosen me to deliver that continuity.”