Alan Irvine gives Norwich City boss Alex Neil much-needed experience in coaching set-up

Alan Irvine chats to striker Steven Naismith during training at Colney. Picture: Jasonpix

Alan Irvine chats to striker Steven Naismith during training at Colney. Picture: Jasonpix - Credit: Jason Dawson

Head of sport Chis Lakey takes a look at the appointment of Alan Irvine as coach at Norwich City

If Alex Neil needed to add experience to his management team, then he has hit the bullseye with Alan Irvine.

Irvine brings a wealth of it to Carrow Road following his appointment as the club's first team coach.

There is an element of 'been there, seen it, got the T-shirt' with Irvine, who has been a player, manager, coach and youth coach. He numbers among his employers Newcastle, Everton and, most recently, Blackburn Rovers, where he worked alongside Paul Lambert, and he revealed that the former Norwich City boss played a part in his move south.

'Up until recently I was working with Paul Lambert, and he always spoke very highly of the club,' said Irvine. 'Everyone from a distance has been really positive about the place and he really reinforced that.'

There's a familiarity there and there is one with some of the playing staff too – he worked with Graham Dorrans and Youssouf Mulumbu at West Brom, and was at Everton at the same time as Steven Naismith. If he can get a tune out of those three, Alex Neil will consider them almost as new signings.

Irvine's managerial career consists of three appointments – Preston, where he was most successful, Sheffield Wednesday, where a precarious financial situation stymied him, and West Brom, the biggest of all three, where he lasted just six months.

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Perhaps he ticks that box that says coach, rather than manager: he had jobs at Blackburn, Preston, Newcastle and, most noticeably, Everton before he turned to management. It was at Everton where he worked alongside David Moyes and it is to his former boss where he has turned for advice in the past.

If that is the sort of experience on offer to Alex Neil, then why not take it?

'Alan has worked with some top managers in his time, as well as having been a manager himself,' Neil told the club's official website.

'He will bring a wealth of experience gained over the course of his career. It adds to us as a coaching team because he's had real success at clubs.

'In terms of what we've got we're now more diverse. He's got a great reputation but also has the willingness and drive to be here, which is great.'

Irvine added: 'The most important thing is that I come in and make a contribution, and that's what I'm looking to do.

'I believe the squad and management team that's here has every chance of getting promotion. I've worked with quite a few of the players in the past and I'm really looking forward to doing that again.'

Norwich City's players have returned to the training fields of Colney for pre-season, as pictured by Jason Dawson in the galleries above. They are based at St George's Park this week, with a behind-closed-doors game against Walsall on Saturday