Chris Davies: Q&A with Celtic assistant manager

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland
Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies
Chris Davies is Celtic's new assistant manager

The thousands of Celtic supporters who were on hand to hail the arrival of Brendan Rodgers were understandably absent when his assistant, Chris Davies, met the media.

There had been suggestions that the former Liverpool boss might opt for a man who has working knowledge of the Scottish game or even the club itself but he's gone for a man he knows and trusts.

Davies, 31, may now be one of the youngest coaches in Scottish football but he's actually spent more time in the dugout than on the pitch.

The defensive midfielder showed promise and captained the Reading youth team - a team managed at that time by Rodgers. He also represented Wales at youth level before he was forced to retire aged just 19 due to injury.

His coaching journey to the east end of Glasgow involved time in New Zealand, Swansea, Liverpool and most recently, Reading. He describes himself as a strategist and someone who likes to work with young players and spoke at length about his new role.

On new job

"Straight away you notice the size of Celtic from the outside but Brendan's unveiling was just sensational. It's a great feeling to be up here now and experience a bit more of Glasgow. This is such an exciting challenge for all of us. We've got a real focus now that we have to bring success consistently and we're looking forward to building that."

What will you bring to the party?

"I've obviously worked with Brendan for a long time and I think we as a staff bring a lot of experience. Me personally, I've got a big interest in the tactical side of the game and enjoy looking at strategy but I also like to work with players and trying to improve them as individuals."

What Rodgers is like in the dressing room?

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers has replaced Ronny Deila as Celtic manager

"He's excellent. All the big players that Brendan's worked with rate him very highly. I saw what Luis Suarez said about him recently and that's just testament to how players feel. He's got really human qualities that players warm to. He's really open and likes to be very close to his players and I think they feed off that as people. On the football side his knowledge and attention to detail is second to none - on all aspects of the game."

How far on are you in terms of assessing the current group of players?

"Yeah, that's started. I think the one thing we've done already is analyse the past. We've looked at where we think the team is at. We've looked at all the goals scored and goals conceded last season. It's not until we get everyone back that'll we'll get a proper feel for the players and how we want to shape it moving forward."

What have you noticed from last season that you might want to change?

"With all due respect to the previous management team, it maybe wouldn't be right to go into detail. We've just looked at areas of the team where we think we could potentially improve or areas that are strong. We've been looking at it objectively without the emotion of how it's been."

Some fans were uneasy with watching Celtic play with one striker, will you go back to two?

Leigh Griffiths scores for Celtic against St Johnstone
Leigh Griffiths (middle) scored 40 goals last season, mainly as Celtic's lone striker

"Well, when we nearly won the league with Liverpool, we played lots of different systems. The most important thing isn't the system itself but rather the style of play. Whether we play with one or two up front, the most important thing is assessing what's important to win games."

Is the current squad too big?

"It's something we'll look at but as Brendan said himself, ideally you want to work with a compact squad. I think most coaches and managers would tell you that. He's been extremely proactive in looking at what he wants and what he doesn't want but we'll wait and see."

Realistically, what kind of players can you attract to Celtic?

"I think we can attract big quality here, there's no doubt about that. In my opinion, Brendan is one of the best managers in the game and here he is coming to one of the biggest and best clubs in the game. So it's logical to think we can get some really good players here. It's hard to articulate just exactly what level of quality but I think we all know we need players that can make a difference and that's what we're looking to attract."

So, does that mean big names?

"The first thing is, they've got to be the right character to assume the responsibility to play for this massive club and they've got to have quality. Whether they are a big name or not, is another thing but we will be looking to attract players who are high calibre."

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