Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Roberto Martinez: Sheffield Wednesday midfielder aiming to follow in footsteps of some famous names

MIKEL ARTETA, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Roberto Martinez, Marcel Desailly, the late Gary Speed and Freddie Ljungberg.

The list of names of those who have passed their UEFA coaching qualifications at the Football Association of Wales’ Dragon Park centre in Newport is a stellar one.

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder and Wales international Will Vaulks will hopefully add to the alumni in time as he strives to graduate from the programme, run by the FAW alongside the Welsh Football Trust.

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While his team-mates are recharging their batteries ahead of the season-defining time in the Owls’ Championship survival fight, Vaulks is down in Gwent with his coaching togs on as he continues to be assessed in his quest to attain his A licence.

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Will Vaulks hands a pat on the back to winger Djeidi Gassama during the recent Championship home game against Plymouth Argyle.Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Will Vaulks hands a pat on the back to winger Djeidi Gassama during the recent Championship home game against Plymouth Argyle.
Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Will Vaulks hands a pat on the back to winger Djeidi Gassama during the recent Championship home game against Plymouth Argyle.

Dragon Park is also the venue where two former Owls managers previously passed their coaching exams in Tony Pulis and Garry Monk.

Other names with Yorkshire connections on the list include Sheffield United chief Chris Wilder, ex-Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Bradford City boss Simon Grayson and former Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Ferguson.

Wirral-born Vaulks, who qualified to play for Wales through his mother Ruth - who hails from Bangor - said: “There’s no (international) break for me unfortunately and hopefully I will have my ‘A’ at the end of this season.

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"I have really enjoyed it and I am enjoying helping with the (Owls) A team when I can and I have taken some sessions and have tried to have an input at some of the games in the dressing room.

"A lot of people say you have to just focus on your playing when you are playing. But we have quite a lot of time in the afternoons when you are not playing and training and I’ve found it a really interesting other side of it.

"It doesn’t distract from playing, if anything I think it makes me a better player, I think.

"It’s given me a taste and the more I have done, the more I have enjoyed it.

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"I want to be in a position when I finish that if a job is there I will fancy, I am qualified.

"Because if I want to do something, I want to do it properly. I am a bit of a perfectionist.

"I don’t want to get given a badge by doing it really easily and then get a job and be rubbish at it."

An intelligent professional and a big voice in all of the dressing rooms of the teams he has played, Vaulks has always stood out as someone who possessed clear managerial/coaching potential.

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A good talker with thought-provoking opinions on the game, Vaulks has acquired a broad knowledge base from various respected figures in football, with the midfielder having previously spoken very highly about the outstanding coaching acumen of Wednesday’s current boss in Danny Rohl.

His time working under Paul Warne at former club Rotherham United also made a positive impression upon him.

A second career in football will beckon at some point, although hopefully not for a good while yet. Vaulks is still only 30.

Several managers may have planted the seed regarding management, but it was his father Gary whose words made a lasting impression.

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Vaulks, who has been capped seven times by Wales, continued: "I have worn the armband at a few clubs and been fairly outspoken and I do see myself as a leader and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I think you are either a leader or not.

"The coaching idea started when one of the coaches at Cardiff, James Rowberry, who is the head educator (Head of Elite Coach Education) at FAW said to me: ‘Do you fancy doing your B? ‘Licence’. So I did it.

"I didn’t think I’d want to do it, if I am honest. Which seems strange now.

"When I said to my dad that I was not sure whether I wanted to stay in football, he said: ‘Why wouldn’t you want to stay in football? It’s everything you have known, you are an intelligent lad, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t give it a go.’

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"That was kind of a little bit of a moment where I thought: ‘You are probably right.’ It’s kind of taken wings from there and I am really enjoying it.

"I am hoping that in the next few years, I can get some more experience with it and see where it takes me.

"I like dealing with people at that side of it. I know it’s a lot of stress being a manager, but we’ll see.

"Hopefully I will have a lot more years playing first.”As for the influence of Warne, Vaulks commented: “Me and Warney are similar in some ways in terms of the way we see values and the way we like to deal with players and be honest.

"Honesty is the way in my book. I can learn a lot from the managers I’ve had and Warney is definitely one of them."