Boothroyd 'practised' management at City

Former Canaries youth coach Adrian Boothroyd says his days on the windswept fields at Colney have helped him take Watford to the brink of the Premiership.

Boothroyd says his days on the windswept fields at Colney have helped him take Watford to the brink of the Premiership.

Boothroyd said he “practised” being a manager during his two-and-a-half year stint in charge of City's youth team, which he ran in much the same way as he expected a first team to be run.

“I was prepared theoretically for management and I practised being a manager just like you would practice penalties,” said Boothroyd, who quit Carrow Road in October, 2003, to take up a similar role at West Bromwich Albion.

“You've got to be prepared to be as innovative as you can if you are going to get to where you aspire to be.

“So I used to run Norwich City's youth team as the first team in the way we trained, how we got ready for matches, debriefing, how the players learnt so I could then give them to Nigel Worthington.

“I kept it to myself, but in my mind that's how I was doing it.”

Most Read

Boothroyd has become something of a maverick at Watford, where he has confounded the critics who were searching for his name in the record books when he was the surprise appointment to succeed Ray Lewington in March last year.

But his innovative style of management has worked wonders, with Watford - complete with former Canaries hero Malky Mackay at the heart of his defence - facing Crystal Palace in tomorrow's Championship play-off semi-final first leg at Selhurst Park.

Boothroyd is also keen to pile the pressure, branding them favourites despite his confidence in his own side's ability.

"They are a team that have been there and done it, have a far more experienced manager, far more experienced players that have played at the top level and are also a club where their chairman expects automatic promotion,' he said.

"They've got the bigger squad and they've spent the money so they are the favourites for the whole thing in my opinion.'

Boothroyd is determined to "finish the job" he started back in July.

The 35-year-old, in his first full season in football management, revealed he was planning for automatic promotion at the start of the season and, having achieved a play-off spot, is now looking ahead to top-flight football at Vicarage Road.

"I told the players, the chairman and the board in July that I was looking for automatic promotion, and the play-offs as a minimum, so we've achieved the minimum of my expectations and now it's time to finish the job,' said Boothroyd.

"One or two of them fell off their chairs, but I believe anything is possible and I've managed to change people's minds, so now the players and the board are starting to believe what I do.

"We had some good results early in the season, brought some players in on top of that and we've gone on from there.

"Then in January I put my fantasy football head on and planned for both the Premiership and the Championship - tactically, technically and financially - I've tried to cover all the aspects.

"Was I ready for management? Were the players ready for debuts? We've all adapted this year. I think that is one of our biggest strengths as a club - it's a learning environment.

"Things have moved along at the club and I think we are ready for the big time again.'

Boothroyd has continued to take his innovative management style into the play-offs, having prepared his players for the Easter programme against Wolves and Ipswich as if it were a two-legged tie - they won 3-2 on 'aggregate' - as well as staging that penalty shoot-out after the Town clash.