Rubén Sellés believes his wide range of experience across Europe will help him adjust quickly to his new role as Southampton’s First Team Lead Coach.
The 38-year-old Spaniard has already worked with nine different clubs in six different countries across the continent, most recently with FC Copenhagen, who were crowned champions of Denmark for the first time in three years last season.
Sellés feels his unique journey has helped him develop an ability to pick up on training-ground dynamics in a short space of time, and puts great emphasis on forming a strong family feel within a football club.
“Due to my career I’ve worked in seven countries now, including England,” he said. “I think I know how to adapt quick into new environments with new people, new players, new culture, and that has been a big point in the last 10 years of my career, working in Azerbaijan and Denmark mainly.
“This also helps in the way that we have been really successful in both countries with four different clubs, and I think that says that I have the ability to read the environment and what is needed to organise a team to be a winning team.
“You will win or lose, but to make a strong team together. Always in Southampton you speak about the family, so I think that has been one of the main points – to be able to create that kind of environment in a team and to perform together to reach the next level.”
Key to a successful environment, Sellés believes, is bringing through a core of players from the Academy, having previously worked with the youth teams of Valencia and Villarreal in his homeland.
“I love when you can create an environment with a lot of players from the Academy, when a lot of lads are arriving to the first team and performing,” he enthused.
“A lot of the time it is about giving them the opportunity, not just about their quality. Sometimes we will prefer someone a little bit more experienced from the outside, somebody more exotic, but at the end of the day the boys that are educated in the Academy and the young players that are coming from other clubs are hungry and sometimes have better abilities.
“They just need a little bit of love and hard work, a good programme for them, and they can shine. I’ve seen this many times from a lot of my boys – some of them being very successful from the very beginning, some of them with a little bit of a more bumpy road for periods, but if you can find the balance and promote some of the lads to the first team then you will have a strong dressing room with boys that know exactly what you want.
“You know what they can give to you, and then the process is growing and growing and growing in this period. Then you are very proud of the work when those boys are growing up and being main players, key players for teams like Southampton and going to the different national teams and performing, so I’m very excited for that part of the job.”
Speaking about coaching philosophy, Sellés says there are similarities with how manager Ralph Hasenhüttl sees the game, but insists “different details” will help add another perspective to Saints’ tactical approach.
“Ralph is a coach that likes to be active with his team, likes to defend really, really high, likes to have a good defensive system to press high, to get the back four far away from the goalkeeper, to press the opponent, to get the ball back as quick as possible, so I would say we have a lot of common points with our philosophy,” he explained.
“Ralph is from the Red Bull philosophy, where you can find the organisation and the respect to the ball that you need, so I think we are in the same line – of course with different details, and that’s why it’s going to be good, because we can, from each perspective, give the best to the team.”