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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 16:48 GMT
Passage from India
By Ian Hughes

Stephen Constantine
Constantine is a highly respected coach around the world
Life in the Lions' Den was never going to be easy, but it is a challenge Stephen Constantine is relishing.

The former India manager recently agreed to stay as Millwall's first-team coach until the end of the season after initially being on trial for a month.

And despite the club being bottom of the Championship, Constantine is delighted to have been given the chance to prove himself in his home country.

Having gained a Uefa professional licence, an FA Psychology Award and an FA Coach Educator's Certificate, Constantine is one of the highest-qualified coaches England has to offer.

Yet, until he was offered the chance at Millwall - where he also manages the reserves, the 43-year-old had been forced to ply his trade abroad, including a successful three-year spell in charge of India, and a year in charge of Nepal.

Constantine told BBC Sport: "I had applied for a few jobs in England in the past.

"So I'm thankful to be given the opportunity at Millwall. It's nice to be here, working in England.

Managers can't be throwing teacups all the time - that works maybe once or twice in a season anyway
Stephen Constantine

"The manager Colin Lee thinks along the same lines as I do to a large degree - it's good to work with someone like that."

Both men believe in players spending three one-minute spells in ice baths after matches, for example, to aid recovery and prevent fatigue.

Constantine revealed that some of the players were a little reluctant initially, and feels that is indicative of a slow-changing mindset in England.

"We are traditionalists in this country," he said. "And it can be hard trying to change from what has been done for so many years.

"It's a question of educating the players so they realise what is beneficial for them.

"It can be difficult to convince the players of the importance of doing certain things but once they realise it's for their benefit they accept it.

"The players who are committed to their profession want to do the best they can and play for as a long as possible."

Players are not the only ones who need to adapt, though, insists Constantine.

No longer does the football establishment believe a manager has had to play at the highest level to be a success - and players are beginning to feel the same.

And a new breed of coach, headed by the likes of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, has broken some age-old myths.

Arsene Wenger
Constantine would love to follow in Wenger's footsteps

Constantine said: "I think players are now starting to realise that the coach doesn't have to have been a big-time player himself to tell them what to do in a game.

"Of course a coach has to be knowledgeable in terms of football technique but it's not just about that.

"There are other factors, such as knowledge of psychology, fitness and diet.

"Managers are changing too - in the way they motivate and speak to their players.

"They can't be throwing teacups all the time. That works maybe once or twice anyway.

"It's about having awareness and being able to adapt to each person's needs."

Constantine hopes he has all bases covered and is determined to be successful as a coach in England, and eventually move into management.

He names Wenger as a man he really admires and the Frenchman's impact in England after arriving as a relative unknown must be an inspiration.

Perhaps one day Constantine, who admits to growing up as an Arsenal fan, could be the one in the Highbury hot-seat.


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