Crofts and Ruth relishing new roles and responsibilities

Joint interim under-23 coaches enjoying life at the helm.

By Alex Stedman • 18 February 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Shannon Ruth and Andrew Crofts.

Shannon Ruth and Andrew Crofts got off to the perfect start in the dugout when the under-23s beat West Ham United 6-1 in Premier League 2 earlier this month.

Their enthusiasm and chemistry are clear to see, so that result came as no surprise.

The pair have both spoken warmly of their predecessor Simon Rusk and are looking positively to the challenge that now lies ahead for the rest of the season.

Crofts said, “I am really enjoying it, I have learned so much within the short period of time that I have been doing the job surrounded by lots of good people with lots of knowledge and experience.

“Making the transition with Shannon next to me has been super. The chemistry that we had from day one was really united and strong, I felt like I had known him for years and I will always be thankful for the welcome that he has given me.

"To be doing this with Shannon now kind of feels like it was meant to be. I am really enjoying it and I have loved the experience of the last few weeks of going from the player-coach role to this.”

“Simon Rusk was someone that I knew previously, who I had a lot of time and respect for. I knew he was ready to make the move to first team football because he’s very good at what he does.

“He has helped develop a lot of young players at this club and other clubs when those players have moved elsewhere.

Ruth said, "I will be continuing the goalkeeping role, but with a bit more support from other goalkeeping coaches, as well as a consultant who both [first-team goalkeeping coach] Ben Roberts and I know, so there will be an extra pair of hands to help out.

“Crofty’s expertise and experiences is of a high level and calibre.

"He has played under lots of different managers and I am sure that he draws on all those experiences and games.

"He can pass that on to our players and offer a different perspective to the player-coach role that he had been doing.

“Crofty is going to lead on day-to-day training and I will try and take care of the operational side, speaking to different staff.

"We meet with the first team coaching staff and Dan Ashworth regularly and our responsibilities have been split so we can both lead on different things."