SUNDERLAND have called in former England and Leicester City winger Steve Guppy to coach the club’s emerging stars, Martin O’Neill has revealed.
The 42-year-old former left-winger, one of the best crossers of a ball in the Premier League at the peak of his powers, is giving specialist classes to the likes of James McClean, Ji Dong-won and Connor Wickham.
And O’Neill is hoping the tuition will be a major benefit to young players hoping to establish themselves in the Premier League.
He told the Echo: “I’ve had Steve doing a wee bit of extra work with the young players like James McClean.
“I’m having him in for a day or two, just looking at technical work with the likes of James and Connor Wickham and a few others.
“I think it can only help them.
“It’s a wee bit of one-to-one tuition, which has to be valuable, particularly for younger players.
“I see young Connor and Ji and all of the young lads who can benefit from that.”
In a 19-year playing career, Guppy played for 10 clubs and was under O’Neill’s leadership three times – at Wycombe Wanderers, Leicester City and Celtic.
Guppy also gained one cap for England, against Belgium, in October 1999.
He ended his playing days in the U.S. where he went on to join the coaching staff of the Colorado Rapids and helped them win the MLS Cup in 2010.
O’Neill said: “Steve enjoys the coaching side of things and especially the chance to work in small groups and work on specialist skills.
“We’re having him here in the early part of the week, which is ideal.
“Later in the week, you don’t want players to be do doing too much after training because they need to rest.
“But early in the week they’re getting a chance to work on and hone the skills which can stand them in good stead in the Premier League.”