'What's the point?' – Jermaine Defoe questions whether to become a manager over lack of black bosses in football | The Sun

JERMAIN DEFOE has questioned the point of pursuing a coaching career as a black player – after seeing numerous older pros of colour denied an opportunity to manage.

Former England star Defoe, 40, began his journey into the world of training players when he was appointed a coach of the under-18 side at old club Tottenham in August.

He is also working towards his Uefa A licence and Pro licence, having completed his B licence, and harbours an ambition to be a manager one day.

But having seen the likes of Les Ferdinand, Sol Campbell and more legendary black players struggle to break into the world of management, it has made Defoe doubt whether all his efforts are worth it.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Jermain Defoe: Outside the Box Podcast, the 57-cap striker said: “I’m obviously making the transition.

“But I see people like Les, John Barnes, Andy Cole, Sol, Dwight Yorke.


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“If these players aren’t being given the opportunity, what’s the point in me going down this avenue, or doing my coaching badges? Why am I wasting my time?”

It was a question put to Troy Townsend, head of player engagement at Kick It Out and one of his guests on the episode.

The father of Defoe’s former Spurs and England team-mate Andros Townsend pointed out that the language used to describe black players, focusing predominantly on physical attributes, has contributed to a lack of sustained managerial opportunities.

Townsend said: “There’s a blockage in the system for black managers. How Keith Curle has managed to keep going is unbelievable.

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“I often revert it back to the way our players get spoken about. It’s always 'the big lad at the back' and 'the fast lad up front'. We’re never seen as the leader or the inspiration.

“Take the language of commentators – power and pace is used to describe us.

“And that transitions into people not believing our talents can transition into coaching and managerial environments.

“So already we start down the rung. We can’t have longevity.

“People don’t trust black or brown coaches to be able to look after their squads or to talk in the manner of a leader.”

The episode was released in the same week that Crystal Palace dismissed Patrick Vieira, who had been the Premier League’s only black manager.

John Barnes also questioned why coaches of colour are often not afforded more opportunities after they have been sacked in comparison to white bosses.

Liverpool legend Barnes famously had to wait eight years after being axed by Celtic in 2000 before getting another opportunity as the Jamaica head coach.

The 59-year-old added: “I would never say we could be as good as anyone else.

“What I say is that we can be as bad as anyone else. Which means that I can be as bad as the white managers but they keep their jobs.

“And I get sacked. And they will get sacked too in time. But the difference is that they’ll get another job and another job and another job.

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“We won’t. I don’t blame the clubs. I blame the fans because that’s what society is all about.

“I don’t know much about Wayne Rooney but when you think about the perception of who can be a good manager, that’s not someone that you’d necessarily think could be a good manager.”

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