From Academy to First Team Goalkeeping Coach, Ed Wootten has been part of the Norwich City family since 2015 and works each day with the Club’s international goalkeepers Tim Krul and Michael McGovern.
Originally starting out playing in goal for Colchester United as a youngster, Ed spoke to canaries.co.uk about making the move into coaching, what a normal day at work looks like for him and being part of the team’s success so far this season.
Thanks for talking to us today Ed. Can you start off by telling us about your background and how you came to be First Team Goalkeeping Coach at Norwich City?
I was at Colchester United for about 10 years working with their community scheme and then their academy with the goalkeepers. A job opportunity came up in the summer of 2015 with the Academy at Norwich, and then I moved to work with the First Team in the summer of 2017.
Was it your goal when you joined to move from the Academy to the First Team?
I just wanted to try to work with the best players I possibly could. I was really happy with the environment I was working in at the Academy and with the players in that group but when the opportunity came up to work with Norwich City’s First Team, it was a real pleasure to be involved and start working with players of international quality in the likes of Michael McGovern, Tim Krul and Angus Gunn last year as well.
Before you started coaching did you play football?
Yes, I was a goalkeeper right from a young age, probably about nine or ten. I went through the academy system up until I was about 16, but it didn’t quite work out for me so I started playing non-league. I was at Colchester and when I got let go there they gave me the opportunity to start working with their goalkeepers in the academy. So I combined playing non-league football with working with the academy goalkeepers and it has worked out well because then the coaching took over and became my main priority and that became my career path.
Can you talk us through what a normal day looks like for you at Colney Training Centre?
I get into work at around 8.30am and normally I have an idea of what I want to do in training that day. I sit down initially and start making plans for what I want to do and I link in with the Head Coach and First Team coaching staff about what their plans are for the day. I try to think about how that will affect what I am going to do with the goalkeepers. Then I have a bit of breakfast, go out and set my session up and then after our meeting in the morning we go out to train. After that we come back in for lunch and then we look back on our video system to review our training and then I look ahead to what I am going to do the following day and leading into the matches.
You work with two experienced goalkeepers in Tim Krul and Michael McGovern, does that present any challenges for you?
It has been fantastic having Michael and Tim who are both international goalkeepers and it really pushes me to try to get the most out of them. They are well established and have got hundreds of games between them, so I always try to push them to improve. And they are always hungry to work and improve so they are a pleasure to work with in that respect. It’s great to work with those types of people because they drive the sessions and they help the younger goalkeepers in Aston Oxborough and Jon McCracken. So it’s a really great environment that we have.
I like to work with four goalkeepers and generally the Head Coach will like to have four available for his training sessions day-to-day. So we pair up and it gives Aston and Jon the chance to work with a senior goalkeeper and they get to look at Michael and Tim’s traits and techniques and pick up bits and pieces from them. It really works and they bounce off each other really well.
You are at all the games home and away, what is your role on a matchday?
It’s preparation for the game ahead. A lot of the work prior to matchday will have been done and you know what you are going to face, but there might be one or two team changes from the opposition that you might need to adjust a little bit of information to give to the goalkeeper. So it’s the last bits of detail on if it might be a left footer or right footer coming to the team, you might have to look at who would take the penalties or free-kicks.
Then after that you have the warm-up and you have to prepare the goalkeeper and make sure they feel comfortable going into the game. Once the warm-up is done I try to get round to the other players to try to drive the group on and make sure everyone is really focussed and prepared to play the game.
You work closely with the rest of the First Team coaching staff, what are your relationships like with them?
Yes we all get on really well. We all more or less came in together and with the previous regime moving on I stepped up and they gave me the opportunity initially and then that became a permanent situation which was great. Since then we have all got to know each other really well and we’ve got a great working relationship and have become good friends as well.
It has been a great season so far and as someone connected so closely with the team it must be great for you to watch from the sidelines and see them doing so well?
Yes, it has been a really positive season so far. Obviously there is still a long way to go but it’s always great when you are looking upwards rather than downwards. Everyone seems to be enjoying it and there is a great spirit among the group. We are really looking forward to the challenges ahead and hopefully come May there might be some more prizes waiting for us.
But even with that success, do you expect the team to continue to train with the same intensity and drive each week?
Absolutely, we go through the same processes each week looking at each opposition as they come to prepare ourselves for what we are going to face. We do our physical work during the week making sure we are tactically ready and technically ready, so nothing changes. Obviously it’s nice to be winning and that gives you a good feeling after the match and we’ve had that more often than not this season so that’s been great. But in terms of our preparation nothing changes and we just go about our next bit of work.
Finally, if the team have had a tough game, can it be difficult to analyse the match the next day with the players or do you always use it as a way to learn and improve?
It’s a constant process for us. Every game plus one we will always have a meeting with the team and discuss what went well and what could have been done better. Obviously being goalkeepers we are always wanting to keep the ball out of the back of the net as often as we can, so we are always disappointed when one goes in. We try not to get too high with good games or too low if something has gone wrong. We just analyse it in the cold light of day, move forwards and continually try to make ourselves better.