2016-17: Leeds United boss Garry Monk relishing facing big-name managers once again

MIND GAMES: Garry Monk, pictured during an Elland Road training session last week, is keen to take on big-name counterparts in the Championship this season.
 Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
MIND GAMES: Garry Monk, pictured during an Elland Road training session last week, is keen to take on big-name counterparts in the Championship this season. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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TAKING on big name managers is nothing new to Garry Monk.

This, let’s not forget, is someone who ensured Louis van Gaal’s bow in English football ended in defeat at Old Trafford when at the helm of Swansea City, while he also completed a league double over Arsene Wenger.

FAMILIAR FACE: Newcastle United boss, Rafa Benitez.

FAMILIAR FACE: Newcastle United boss, Rafa Benitez.

The 37-year-old may not be operating in the rarefied atmosphere of the Premier League this term but there will still be no shortage of big names to pit his wits against.

Both Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez, inset, have won the Champions League as managers, while legendary players such as Jaap Stam and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are plying their trade in the second tier this season along with nine former Premier League chiefs.

“There are a lot of big names in the Championship,” said Monk. “The two years I had in the Premier League were great because I got to take on some of the very best managers and I will have to use that experience now.

“That said, my main aim is my players. It isn’t about getting one over another manager, just getting the best out of the squad.”

For Monk, his second managerial appointment represents a big contrast to Swansea, where he had been at the club for almost nine years before taking charge.

“This is a totally different experience but one I really wanted,” he added. “I knew at Swansea there would come a day when I would leave and go into somewhere that I was not so familiar with. That is what management is all about and I am enjoying it.”

Yorkshire is familiar territory to Leeds boss Monk

THIS is far from Garry Monk’s first stint in Yorkshire.

As a 23-year-old, he moved to Sheffield Wednesday shortly after Chris Turner, inset, had taken charge in 2002. Monk’s debut on loan from Southampton ended in a home loss to Gillingham and the Owls were relegated later that season.

Monk returned to south Yorkshire to join Barnsley the following year, initially on loan before making the deal permanent. But it took his switch to Swansea in 2004 to really get his career going.