It’s a typically busy day at Belvoir Drive, with the unmistakable sound of studs on concrete and the hum of lawnmowers in the background, as three new faces sit down with LCFCQ.
Chris Davies, the Club’s Assistant Manager, is joined by Kolo Touré, the First Team Coach, and First Team Fitness Coach, Glen Driscoll, who all accompanied Brendan Rodgers to Leicester City from Celtic.
They have worked in close coordination over previous seasons, specifically in Glasgow, but also elsewhere, and their personal journeys to Leicester include fascinating, surprising, tales.
Naturally, the loyalty and friendship which exists between the trio is evident almost immediately while they all share a deep-rooted admiration for Rodgers’ methods.
Watford-born Davies is a fiercely intelligent and experienced coach, despite being just 34 years of age at the time of our conversation, and his association with City’s manager goes back 18 years.
Rodgers joined the Club - alongside Davies, Touré and Driscoll - in February 2019.
He swapped Hertfordshire for Berkshire when he was 16 and quickly became the captain of Reading’s youth team – managed by Rodgers, aided by Driscoll.
An exciting career as a midfielder was cruelly cut short just three years later, though, and Davies had to revaluate his professional life – swiftly deciding to pursue a career in coaching.
“When I finished playing, my idea was always to stay in the game,” he explains. “So I had to do my coaching badges to make me well equipped to be the best coach I could possibly be.”
Intriguingly, Davies worked as a community coach at Leicester City for two years and studied a Sports Science degree at Loughborough University.
He then headed to the breathtaking seaport of Napier, on the eastern coast of New Zealand's North Island, to work with Wimbledon’s FA Cup-winning former manager, Bobby Gould, and his son, ex-Celtic goalkeeper, Jonathan, at the recently-formed Hawke's Bay United FC.
The thing that’s most striking about Brendan is that he has never changed. Of course, he’s evolved and adapted, as hopefully we all have, but he has never changed.Chris Davies LCFCQ
“That was a fantastic life experience,” Davies remembers. “To work with Bobby and Jonathan, and to be over there, it was brilliant, both in a footballing sense and in a life experience one.”
Rodgers stayed in touch from afar and, in 2010, when Davies was earning an A-License certificate in Wales, the Northern Irishman was named as Swansea City’s new manager.
“The timing was perfect,” Davies continues, recalling how he became Rodgers’ assistant at Liberty Stadium, the start of a two-year journey, including promotion from the Championship.
“I had played for Wales at youth level and I was doing my A-License there so, when Brendan got the job, it was a good fit. It was a great step for me in my development.
“I had done a lot of youth coaching, from young children up to development age, but that was an opportunity for me to work at a good level and learn the tactical side of the game in detail.
“That period with Brendan really set me up well for the future and then, of course, we got promoted to the Premier League in our first season and stayed up the next season as well.”
Chris Davies & Jamie Vardy
Davies has been a trusted lieutenant of Rodgers' at Swansea, Liverpool and Celtic.
In the summer of 2012, Davies was still only 25 years-old, but his talent, dedication and loyalty to Rodgers saw him head to Merseyside to join 18-time champions, Liverpool.
Working closely with Rodgers once again, Davies helped build an exciting, attacking Liverpool outfit which finished second in the Premier League during the 2013/14 season.
The Reds scored a staggering 101 league goals that year, the Anfield club’s highest tally since the late 19th century, while Rodgers also received the LMA Manager of the Year prize.
As is the case with Touré and Driscoll, the people who work closest with Rodgers truly get an insight into one of the most respected managers in the game – and Davies is no different.
Asked about the 47-year-old’s management style, Davies says: “Brendan’s a great person to work for, he creates a fantastic working environment, as the staff here have already realised.
“The thing that’s most striking about Brendan is that he has never changed. Of course, he’s evolved and adapted, as hopefully we all have, but he has never changed.
“He’s always been connected with people and is always so focused and driven.
He (Rodgers) has a vision for the Club, which is very important. He wants to bring the Club to a better level and he wants the Club to be one of the best in England.Kolo Touré LCFCQ
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if we’re talking about homegrown British coaches, I think Brendan is the best of his generation.
“He’s the most successful, he is the one that has made the biggest impact in the last few years and, in my opinion, he is the shining example of a homegrown coach in the United Kingdom.”
Following a brief spell as first team coach for Brian McDermott at former club Reading in 2016, Davies linked up with Rodgers again – this time at Scottish giants, Celtic.
During two-and-a-half years there, Rodgers, Davies, Touré and Driscoll won a double of trebles and embarked on a stunning 69-game unbeaten run – the longest stretch in 100 years.
Davies says the Club’s family ethos is perhaps the biggest impression it’s left on him so far.
“I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by how warm the Football Club is,” he adds. “In the Premier League, that can be lost easily, but there’s a genuine warmth and closeness here.
After a trophy-laden playing career, Touré is now forging an exciting coaching career.
“It gives me a lot of confidence for what we can achieve here because, if the culture is there, you can achieve big things – and we’ve seen how far Leicester City have gone in the past.”
Meanwhile, Touré, an icon whose CV includes successful spells at Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic, is instantly recognisable to football fans around the world.
The Ivory Coast legend played under Rodgers at Liverpool, before a short spell at Celtic ended with the Northern Irishman inviting him onto the coaching team in 2017.
Touré’s beaming smile is particularly striking – an expression of his infectiously positive outlook.
“Life is about tomorrow,” he tells LCFCQ. “I always say that what you did yesterday happened yesterday. You can learn from it, but don’t dwell on it.
“You always have to try to be the very best that you can be. Push yourself every single day to be the best. For me, to be positive is everything. You have to enjoy life… life is fantastic.”
It’s amazing to be around people like that (Davies & Driscoll) and to work with them because they make you better, they improve you and they challenge you.Kolo Touré LCFCQ
The 39-year-old former defender, a two-time Premier League and FA Cup winner, was born in the bustling Ivorian city of Bouaké, 100 miles from the capital, Yamoussoukro.
Along with brother Yaya, Touré lived every young football fan’s dream and, once his career was coming to an end in 2017, there was no doubt in his mind that a coaching role was next.
“I had some wonderful times at Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic,” he says. “That’s my journey, it’s quite simple, but I’m a coach now and I’m so excited to work here.
“I’m also very excited to work with such a top, young manager – one of the best in the world right now. He is a great leader, he’s a great coach as well.
“He can manage the Club and he can also manage the team at the same time. To be a great manager, you have to be a great coach and this is a really special skill that Brendan has.
“He has a vision for the Club, which is very important. He wants to bring the Club to a better level and he wants the Club to be one of the best in England.”
Naturally, conversation turns to Touré’s relationship with Davies and Driscoll, two influential figures who, alongside the manager, have helped shape his coaching philosophy.
Driscoll is excited by the direction in which Leicester are headed.
“They are amazing people,” he adds. “Chris is a top coach, very young, but very talented. He’s intelligent and he’s been both a player and a coach for Brendan since a young age.
“It’s amazing to be around people like that and to work with them because they make you better, they improve you and they challenge you.
“Glen is a professional guy, one of the best at his job. He’s worked at the very top level at Chelsea and Liverpool. Like Chris, he is disciplined, professional and dedicated to his work.
“It’s not only Chris and Glen… we have Adam Sadler, Mike Stowell and the analysis team, who were already here, and they are all doing an amazing job. I’m so excited by what I see here.”
Driscoll, on the other hand, has been a colleague of Rodgers for the longest period of time – over 15 years – after working at the Hurlingham Tennis Classic and the PGA Asian Tour.
A childhood Leyton Orient supporter, Driscoll grew up in Ilford and studied Sports Science at Teesside University before earning another degree at the University of East London.
Nowadays, he is also working towards a PhD and he spoke of an unbreakable bond with Rodgers, a manager whose career, he believes, is climbing a continuous upward curve.
I was the head of fitness for Ancelotti and Hiddink and the physio for Mourinho and [Luiz Felipe] Scolari – and the first manager for me at Chelsea was Claudio Ranieri.Glen Driscoll LCFCQ
“We started out together at Reading for about three-and-a-half years and then also at Chelsea, Swansea, Liverpool and Celtic, so this our sixth club together,” he says.
“That has built up a loyalty and the journey has been very important to me. In that period, we’ve developed and evolved a training methodology that we’re deploying here today.
“It’s been a really special time. At Chelsea, we met up again when I was Brendan’s sports scientist and physio for the youth team and then the reserve team.
“When Brendan went on to manage at first team level at Watford and Reading, I initially stayed at Chelsea and got incredible experience with the first team.
“I was really fortunate to work with other managers; Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink and José Mourinho.
“I was the head of fitness for Ancelotti and Hiddink and the physio for Mourinho and [Luiz Felipe] Scolari – and the first manager for me at Chelsea was Claudio Ranieri.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with really top managers but I really feel that Brendan has an amazing mix of the qualities of all of the managers I have worked with in my career.
“He’s got a brilliant blend and I love working with him. He’s unbelievable to work with, especially in my area, he’s so forward-thinking and approachable.”
Rodgers' tenure has included transforming City into contenders for European qualification.
Driscoll’s sense of dedication to Rodgers extends to Davies and Touré, who have become close friends as well as trusted colleagues over recent years.
“If we’re talking about the loyalty that myself and Brendan have formed, that definitely exists with both Chris and Kolo as well,” he continues.
“Going back to Reading, Chris was the captain of our youth team. He was a really good player and, on the pitch, I remember his drive and his commitment to quality.
“He brings that into his professional life as well. He’s an extremely talented young coach and he’s going to have such an incredible career.
“Kolo is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Again, you just see his energy and he brings an incredible enthusiasm.
“Now I’ve come in here, I’d say that the medical and science team at Leicester are second to none.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with great departments at very big clubs, but the level of Dave Rennie and Matt Reeves and the team is very high.
“I feel very privileged to be here at Leicester City and on this journey with Brendan.”
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