Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante believes Chris Greenacre’s move to assistant coach has been a seamless one so far.
Greenacre confirmed on Wednesday he had hung up the boots and made the permanent move to the coaching staff after having a foot in both camps last year when he combined coaching with his role as striker.
“He’s a natural for it. We’ve always seen him as the type of player that can go into coaching and he’s wanted to do it for years,” said Durante.
“It’s been quite an easy transition from a players point of view. He’s passionate about it.
“He’s here at 7.30 in the morning and leaves at 5 o’clock at night. He’s a perfectionist but so far he’s fitted in seamlessly.”
While Greenacre’s two-year deal has only just been confirmed, the 34-year-old, along with goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould, has been running the Phoenix’s pre-season training sessions for the past few weeks with Phoenix and All Whites boss Ricki Herbert on duty with the New Zealand Under-23 Olympics squad.
“He’s obviously got full authority now that Ricki’s away. It’s been good,” added Durante. “It’s great for his development as well to take a professional team on his own is a big step.”
For many players who take up coaching, not being ‘one of the boys’ can be a hard transition to make. But Greenacre believes his dual role last season has helped make that easier for him.
“To be honest I’m not going to find that such a challenge,” he said. “I know when to dismiss myself and I also need the boys to be able to trust me.
“I just want to be an all-round coach and have that discipline when I need to have it and also the respect from the players when I need to have it,” he added.
“At the end of the day I’m on their side. I’m not trying to pick fights and be an ogre with anybody.
“We’re all trying to move in the right direction. We’re all trying to get results. The best way I can make them do that, the better. Hopefully we can all be on the same page.”
Greenacre, who holds a UEFA B licence and has started working towards his A licence, admits the decision to hang up the boots had been tough but one he is comfortable with.
“I’m not going to look back on my career with any regret, just look forward to the future.
“I was known to work hard on the field and I just want to put that same enthusiasm into coaching.”