Ottery manager chat: ’Opportunity knocks for all the current players’

Billy Rouse with the Morrison Bell Cup in the dressing room at Ottery St Mary after his sides 2019 f

Billy Rouse with the Morrison Bell Cup in the dressing room at Ottery St Mary after his sides 2019 final success against Sidmouth Town. Picture: BR - Credit: Archant

The new manager at Ottery St Mary has been ‘in post’ for a week now and we caught him up with him to ask how busy his phone has been since the announcement that he was taking over at Washbrook Meadow.

Rouse replied: “I have had plenty of calls and, what does seem clear, is that lots of folk want to know my immediate plans with regard to the players that will make up that first Ottery team that heads into a competitive game once life returns to normal in a post pandemic age.”

He continued: “I have no doubt all the current players will be looking at this thinking that I’ll be dismissing them and looking to bring in a complete new set of players. I expected that for it’s a normal concern whenever there is managerial change and it’d be strange if there was no nervousness in the current squad.”

The new man then spoke of how the past season ended. He said: “The team actually did well on their last few games before the season was halted and I’d be crazy to simply dismiss all those currently involved. My plan is very much to give those who want to be part of our future the opportunity to come on the journey with us.

“Of course we need to add strength to the squad, but the most important thing for me is for us to have a group of hungry players, old and new, that want to take Ottery to the next level.

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“Once we get the green light to get back into action every player will be told its down to them to show just why they deserve the shirt more than the next guy - me included!”

Next, we turned our attention to what style of football the new man likes to play.

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He replied saying: “I like to play football, every player on the pitch needs to be comfortable with a ball at their feet in any situation. I have to be honest I like to play around with a couple formations just to see what suits the players that are available, but I can assure Ottery followers that the football we will be playing will be fast and exciting.

“The Washbrook Meadow pitch has always been one I’ve enjoyed playing on as it’s a lovely surface to pass on, very big and wide and ideal for pacy wingers to utilise.”

So, what about the football infrastructure and a ‘pathway’ to the first team.

The new Ottery boss says: “I think what Mike (Ottery chairman Mikey Ringer) has done with the club is brilliant and he’s always looking to build for the future as well as the here and now.

“In the conversations we’ve already had, Mike has spoken highly of the youth here and I’m looking forward to working alongside the youth coaches and helping develop them into future first team players.

“The club already has a development side in place to blood some youngsters, but I do hope we can have a reserve side, playing a decent standard of football so that the transition into the first team can be easier. That way we can create more and more opportunity to get the youngsters in. In my eyes if you’re good enough, you’ll play so I look forward to casting an eye over the talent already at the club.”

Last, for this week, we asked the Ottery manager when he thinks we might get a return to football.

He is quick to respond saying: “My mind chases on this daily! I do think that FIFA should have either paused the whole footballing calendar and looked to resume it when possible, or just cancelled the lot.

“I can’t understand why some leagues are postponing and others aren’t!

“At our level we’d expect, in a normal season, to be ‘at it’ from the start of July. However, these are uncertain times and there’s nothing ‘normal’ about anything right now and so, hand on heart, its I really do not know when we will get the nod to get back to work and begin preparing for the start of a new season.

“What I do know though is that I am very eager to get going now and I’m sure the players are too!”

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