Rob Edwards on working with Walter and Wolves' start
Rob Edwards is enjoying life at Wolves working with Head Coach Walter Zenga – and believes exciting times are ahead as the new staff and squad continue to gel and improve.
The first team coach and other members of the backroom staff have settled in alongside new arrivals Zenga, assistant Stefano Cusin and general team manager Andrea Butti, with the shared aim of bringing success to Wolves this season.
Some of the gloss has been taken off a promising start by successive defeats, but Edwards believes consistency is within reach with plenty more hard work and cohesion.
“It all happened really quickly in the summer with the takeover and then the changing in the coaching team with Walter, Stefano and Andrea coming in,” says Edwards.
“Then there was an influx of players before the transfer window closed.
“There was a lot to adjust to really quickly and things will take time but I think it has gone pretty well so far.
“Results have been slightly up and down but that is probably to be expected with such a large number of new players and the Championship being so tough and unpredictable.
“From my point of view it has been really good to work with another Head Coach in Walter in terms of seeing how he wants to do things and how he manages people.
“I feel I have been really involved and can try and make as much of an impact as I can.
“During the games I have been working with Walter to get instructions onto the pitch quickly.
“He will talk to both Stefano and myself during the games to bounce things off us as he makes his decisions as we all see different things.
“It has been great to be more involved in a matchday from a personal point of view rather than being sat in the stands – it looks a bit easier from up there!
“When you are down there at ground level it feels more real, and I had missed that if I am being honest.
“But it’s not about me – it is about supporting the Head Coach and whatever he wants me to do.
“If that is getting up and shouting instructions or encouraging the players then that is what I will do.
“Or if it is up to me to sit there and watch from afar then I will do that.
“The training has been really interesting as it has been different and I have been able to pick up different things.”
Edwards is keen to ensure he learns from Zenga as he did from Kenny Jackett and Joe Gallen during his first year on the senior coaching staff, with a view to continuing his own improvement and development.
“The last few years have been great for me from a learning experience,” he said.
“To work under Ken and Joe was fantastic and now it is another great experience to work with a different Head Coach with different ideas.
“I will be able to take different bits from the different ways of working.
“Walter has some really good ideas – a lot of thought and detail goes into every training session.
“He looks at the opposition and their threats, and what we can do in a game, and then plans the sessions around that to build a gameplan leading up to the weekend.
“I think that is a good way of doing it and there is a real thought process behind every decision.
“Team selection, those training sessions, the analysis with the meetings before the games – they are all linked and the players know exactly what they are being asked to do.”
There have been some excellent Wolves performances and results already this season – Reading, Newcastle and Brentford among them – alongside those disappointing defeats.
And Edwards says it is a consistent run that will help push Wolves towards the sort of position they want to be as the season progresses.
“If you look at the second half performance of Norwich, we need more of that,” he says.
“The intensity was great, we were a real threat going forward without taking our chances.
“We got a really good goal from Dave Edwards to get us back into the game and I think everyone would agree that the second half was a decent performance.
“Tuesday nights can sometimes throw up some strange performances and strange results and we didn’t perform to the level we needed to at Wigan.
“We were still in the game right to the end until we conceded what was a poor goal from our point of view to lose the game.
“We need to play with the intensity like we did against Reading, Brentford or against Huddersfield after the first 20 minutes.
“There have been snippets in games where we have done it but we need to put it together into a full 90 minutes, and that is always difficult to do.
“We need intensity, both with and without the ball, moving it quickly or get it wide, and then when we are pressing make sure we go after them and don’t them play.
“The key now is consistency, especially in this league.
“Everyone knows they will lose one or two games from time to time, but you need to build up runs of three or four wins.
“If you look at the teams that are up there at the top of the league that is what they have been able to do so far.
“There is still loads of time, but the sooner it happens for us the better.
“There would be no better place to try and start a run like that than at Villa Park in a derby against one of the teams who were favourites for promotion.
“Consistency of performances – that is what we are looking for. And that will then bring results.”
The perfect place to try and set off on a run would be at Villa Park a week tomorrow (5.30pm).
That will a special fixture for Edwards, who came through the ranks with Aston Villa and made nine senior appearances before injury affected his early progress and he went on to join Wolves, in 2004.
“I have great memories of Villa,” he said.
“I went there as a 10 or 11 year old when my Dad used to take me training a couple of nights a week.
“I progressed through to get into the youth team and reserves and then a few games for the first team before I got injured.
“It is a great club – I think we are lucky in the Midlands to have big clubs with good histories like ourselves and Villa.
“I have not been involved in a Wolves/Villa game, apart from a pre-season, I’ve not been involved in a league fixture.
“So it will be nice to go back to Villa Park.
“I know the players are looking forward to it too, it should be a really good game.
“There could be a new manager in place for them and if they haven’t they will have a really experienced guy at the helm in Steve Clarke.
“We will be expecting a tough game as they have very good players but we are looking forward to it.
“I have been back to Villa once as a player, with Blackpool.
“It was the infamous game when Ian Holloway changed all his team and put the ressies out – so I played in that one!
“We were unlucky to lose it 3-2 in the end, but we conceded late on.
“It was fantastic to go back as a player and I am really looking forward to being on the other side of it now as a coach.”
The training has been really interesting as it has been different and I have been able to pick up different things