Premier League Close with former coach
During his time at Manchester City, Yaya Toure has admitted that he and coach Pep Guardiola would sit and analyse areas of the game, which led him on the path to emulating his former boss.
Toure is currently without a club, and is on the way to becoming a coach. The Ivorian has had a long and storied career, which took in clubs like Monaco, Barcelona and of course City.
“At Manchester City, Pep Guardiola and I used to talk after training about specific things, parts of the game that he loved to analyse,” Toure told The Coaches’ Voice.
“He saw that I understood the game. Sometimes I would also speak with the chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, too. He agreed I should consider becoming a coach.
“Up until then, I just thought I was thinking about how I was playing in a deeper way. I didn’t really realise I was thinking like a coach. I’d always thought in that way. It came naturally to me. In the Manchester City teams I played in that won titles, out on the pitch, we were always looking for ways to improve; ways to get the most out of each other.
“David Silva and I would talk constantly. Samir Nasri, too. If we weren’t finding a route to Sergio Aguero, we’d make the decision to change things. ‘This isn’t working,’ I’d say. ‘Let’s swap positions and see how that works’.
“Of course, I had great managers at City – Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Guardiola. They would give the team a platform and structure, but communication between players is so important. You need communication on the pitch. We found we made each other better because we understood what we were doing so well.”
Toure hasn’t yet retired, though it is a year since he left Qingdao Huanghai in the Chinese Super League, and has admitted that his playing days may soon be drawing to a close.
“I have to be honest,” Toure continued. “It is difficult to completely give up on football. Maybe my legs have one more year left in them! But I have started to realise how good it is to be a coach.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made things difficult in a lot of ways – it was the reason I left Qingdao Huanghai in China at the start of 2020 – but it has given me the opportunity to learn. I have taken the chance to start doing my coaching badges and think about the next chapter. I’ve already made good progress in gaining my qualifications. But sitting in an office the whole time – that’s not me.
“I want to be out on the grass, interacting with other people, exchanging ideas. I’ve been very lucky that Chris Ramsey has given me the opportunity to do that at QPR.
“At QPR, after the sessions, I spend time with the players chatting to them. It really is amazing to see how committed they are. They want to achieve as much as I did, and they always want to learn how to be better. It’s amazing to be able to help them, and I’m delighted that I have that chance.
“The feeling that has given me is making it easier to accept that my playing days are coming to an end. I would love the chance to keep on playing if it comes along. It would be perfect to find a role that combines playing and coaching, like Kolo [Toure] did under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic and now at Leicester. Brendan has been a fantastic mentor for Kolo, and his progression in the last few years has been phenomenal.”