RAFA BENITEZ, Roberto Di Matteo and Nigel Pearson. Just three of the big-name managers in the Championship next season and new Leeds United head coach Garry Monk cannot wait to pit his wits against them.
The 37-year-old is the latest second-tier appointment more used to the trappings of the top-flight who has found his way to the Championship – a division which he believes is the most competitive around.
Not that Monk is cowed by the challenge, which he believes is one to be embraced.
Monk, who has stressed he has not come to Elland Road to be ‘average’ or ‘mediocre’ as he bids to stir the Leeds United giant back into life, said: “Look at the clubs who are in this league; huge clubs.
“There are some top managers in this league and that is exciting as well – to be pitting your wits against some top, top managers.
“But that is what gets the blood going. The challenge of that and everything that goes with it is what you want.
“If you are doing this job, you want to be doing it at the hardest and best level and the biggest challenges that you can take which are out there and this is one.
“I am really excited to be here, it is a fantastic club with great people around it and I am looking forward to working with everyone.”
On what he expects in the Championship, Monk added: “The Championship is a tough, physical league and that is where your preparation and planning come into place and you have to be adaptable.
“You can’t win every week. But what you have to do is put a consistent performance and way of working and exciting way of working together with fresh ideas and motivation and getting everyone on board.
“It is the ambition for the club to go forward and what we all want is the Premier League – that is what we are here for and we cannot shy away from that.
“I am an ambitious person myself, so it went hand in hand.
“I am a young manager but not a manager that wants to take the easy route. I want to have challenges put in front of me and big challenges and this is a big challenge.
“But what a fantastic club to come and take that challenge on.
“I just cannot wait to get to work and to get working with the players and working with everyone at the club and making sure that we are all focused on the season ahead.”
Monk’s itinerary will see him meet staff members this week and work on formulating pre-season plans and also finalising his backroom team.
Pep Clotet, his assistant at Swansea, is expected to join him shortly.
On organising pre-season, he said: “We are already working on that internally.
“With the logistics side of it, it’s a little bit more difficult and we are in a different situation. We would have had those things sorted throughout the previous season.
“But, for obvious reasons, it has not been (the case).
“But having spoken to the club, those things are being worked on.”