Crofts: It's about what the players need, not me

Under-21s coach takes interim charge of the first team following Graham Potter's departure.

By Paul Camillin • 08 September 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Andrew Crofts took first team training on Thursday morning.

Interim head coach Andrew Crofts has spoken of his pride and excitement at leading the team into this weekend's fixture at Bournemouth. 

The former Albion midfielder, who enjoyed two spells at the club as a player, and is currently the club's under-21 coach said, "At the moment all I am thinking about is the group and what the group need over the next few days. 

"I'm proud and excited, I’ve been associated with the football club for such a long period of time over different spells, but it’s not about me, it’s about what the club needs and what the players need.

"The main focus is going to Bournemouth, to stay in the moment that they’re in as a group, to fight as hard as we can to get more points on the board and with what I have seen this season, they’re in such a good place, such confidence, you can see they’re really enjoying their football and looking forward to the next game.

"They know where they’re at and what they’ve had to do to get to that point, so it’s very much a case of keeping it the same as what they’ve been doing, we don’t need to change anything. 

"We just have to help drive what they’ve been doing. They’ve worked so hard as a group to get to where they are now, it’s just a case of helping them in any way we can."

Crofts, who took first-team training this morning, added, "The lads were great, the energy was really good. 

"You know there is going to be disappointment with Graham and the staff leaving the club, because of the relationships they’ve built up. But we’ve spoken about it and the boys were straight to work on the training pitch and because they’re so professional they couldn’t wait to train. 

"The energy and intensity was really good, it was a really positive morning in terms of the work we got done on the grass."

He will be assisted by his under-21 colleague Shannon Ruth, set play coach Nick Stanley, Adam Lallana and assistant goalkeeping coach Jack Stern.

By Paul Hazlewood
From left to right, Shannon Ruth, Nick Stanley, Andrew Crofts and Adam Lallana.

"I spoke to Adam, he’s been outstanding in terms of speaking about what the boys need. He knows the dressing room inside out because he’s been a massive driver in getting the group to where they are now. 

"Not only is he a top player and person, but he’s going to be massive for the club in the next few days, I can’t thank him enough. We’re looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully it will be an exciting couple of days."

He also admitted he was not surprised to see Graham Potter attracting the interest he did from Chelsea.

"It’s a reflection of him to see where he has taken the club from, to where we are now, that has generated interest from big clubs. 

"Since he’s come into the building, what he has created with the staff, the players and everyone has been unique. It just gives the club such a good platform to build on. 

"On behalf of everyone at the club we wish him all the best in his next chapter alongside the members of staff that will be joining him there."