'I don’t see a diverse England manager in the near future' - U21 coach Johnson discusses need to challenge systemic racism in football
Michael Johnson has discussed the need to challenge systemic racism in football, while admitting he doesn't see "a diverse England manager happening in the near future".
Football has offered its support to the cause, with players taking a knee in a display of solidarity becoming a pre-match occurrence since the resumption of the sport post-coronavirus lockdown.
Black History Month has given the movement even greater traction in October, and clubs across the Premier League have celebrated with a whole host of different events and activities to raise awareness.
Johnson is excited by the progress being made in the ongoing fight againstracism in football, but says there is still much to be done in terms of bringing through talented black coaches at the highest level.
The England U21 assistant coach opened up to DAZN on hisexperiences as aBlack coachin the modern game, before highlighting a lack of opportunities for those from ethnic and minority backgrounds.
“I was coaching at a club, looking after a very successfulyouthteam. One day I was called into the management’s office informing me they were going to make a change with my position," he said.
“It wasn’t about the results because the team were doing well, and they were enjoying their football, but I was told they were relieving me of my duties. My replacement had no footballing experience and had the minimum licence as a coach.
“In football, there’s 33 per centof BAMEBlack, Asian, and minority ethnicplayers across the leagues.However,when you transition to coaching and management,the disparity drops off – withonlyfourBlack managers out of 92.
"Once you go into senior leadership,it drops even lower to two per cent. You can see quite clearly that once you leave the game,the 33 per cent of players aren’t transitioning into coaching, management or leadership.
“The recruitment process needs tobeopen, fair and transparent. These jobs need to be advertised publicly so people who are qualified can apply, rather than viaanetwork.The pipelineof talentis there. The pipeline is just frustrated becauseopportunities to be exposed to thetopclubs and interviewsarenot forthcoming.
“As a result the clubs have missed out on talent. There’s talented managers andcoacheswho could have added to thatindustry,but you’ll never know, because the network didn’t allow people like me to access those opportunities. We believefootballhas missed out on a generation of talented coaches.”
Johnson went on to discuss common racial stereotypes in the modern game, using Inter striker Romelu Lukaku asan example of a player who doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
“When you look at someone like Lukaku, he’s often describedas powerfulandstrong,but no-one mentions that he speaks sixlanguages,orhe’s got threeMaster’s degrees – he’s a very articulate man. But this is not associated withBlack players because it’s always around their physicality," he said.
“When it comes toBlack athletes,the terminology has not changedfast enough, which makes it difficult to translate into the boardroom. The language that we use to describeBlack players in particular needs to be looked at and challenged.”
Johnson doesn't think a black manager will be taking charge of England's senior squad any time soon, but he is optimistic that diversity will become more widespread in the coming years.
“For the first time in 30 years, I’m excited to see what the nextsixweeks will bring in terms of football embracing real change," he said.
“I don’t see a diverse England manager happening in the near future.But ultimately, I think it will happen.Based on whoever’scoachingin thePremierLeague– ifthe results are doing well, and the style of football is doing well,then it shouldn’t matter aboutbeingBlack, white, ora certaingender.”
Source : goal.com
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