Michael Brown: Port Vale midfielder taking 'right step' into coaching - Chris Birchall

Port Vale midfielder Michael Brown tangles with Walsall's Kieron Morris during the final day of the season 5-0 defeat at Bescot
Much-travelled midfielder Michael Brown has scored 59 goals in his 655-game career

Port Vale winger Chris Birchall says the appointment of veteran team-mate Michael Brown to the coaching staff was an obvious decision.

Much-travelled ex-Manchester City and Tottenham midfielder Brown will assist chairman Norman Smurthwaite's search for a new manager to replace Rob Page, following his exit for Northampton.

Birchall says that the 39-year-old's promotion was not unexpected.

"Browny's close to all the players," Birchall told BBC Radio Stoke.

"He knows their abilities and knows what is needed to come in and interact, and get the players playing for him. But he's still a great player himself. He still thinks he's got a lot to offer on the playing side.

"The players knew he'd take the step to the other side sooner or later. He's very professional and I'm sure he'll take that step into management one day soon."

Brown's footballing journey

Brown has clocked up 655 appearances, the last 53 of them with Vale, in his 22 seasons as a professional footballer, starting at Maine Road with City in 1994.

After loan spells while at City with Hartlepool and Portsmouth, he then moved to Sheffield United in January 2000 following an initial loan move.

He then returned to the top flight at Tottenham in 2004, since when he played for Fulham, Wigan Athletic, Portsmouth and Leeds United before his move to Vale Park in 2014.

He will now have a say on who steps in to replace Page in the Burslem hot seat, a job for which the return of former Vale boss Micky Adams for a third time has already been mooted in the media.

Birchall's contract situation

Chris Birchall is Vale's most capped international player, the 32-year-old Stafford-born wideman having played 23 times for Trinidad & Tobago.

He has so far spent three seasons back with the club where he began his career in 2001 - and he is one of 13 players offered new deals for next season, all of them on reduced terms.

"It's a weird situation that the retained list was put out by the manager and then he's the first one to go," said Birchall.

"Pagey did well on a limited budget. He was always looking to move on and nobody would blame him for doing what he's done.

"But it's always unsettling when a manager leaves. Players are in limbo as to whether they're going to be retained.

"My offer is as it sounds. The chairman was publicly saying that it was cuts to everyone. I took a cut last year and I've now been asked to take another cut.

"I'm a Vale fan, it's the club I love and I feel like I've been loyal. But, at times, you have to look elsewhere when offers are not what you've been expecting."

Birchall first left the Potteries in 2006 for Coventry City, where he spent three years before moving to Brighton.

He then spent three years in the United States with LA Galaxy, playing alongside David Beckham, and Columbus Crew, before returning to Vale Park in 2013.

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