Michael Morrison interview: Reading defender on promotion aims, his own coaching ambitions, and barber shops

Reading defender Michael Morrison is attempting to barter extra than simply promotion to the Premier League proper now. He is part-owner of three barber shops and these are testing instances for small companies given he has solely been capable of open one month out of three.

“My business partner, my best friend, is furloughed,” he tells Sky Sports. “I have had to take a more hands-on role with it, trying to decrease all of our expenditure. It has been busy, quite a lot of Zoom meetings between us, talking to staff, letting them know we care.”

At house, there may be the parenting to maintain with three younger kids.

“My wife has been heading up the home-schooling,” he says. “Luckily enough, I am at training and they are trying to do all the schooling between 9am and 3pm to maintain a structure. It is easier to be at work than at home with three kids, that is for sure.”

He smiles however then, even in these difficult instances, there’s a lot to smile about for the 32-year-old Morrison. He is a part of the Reading aspect that shocked the Championship earlier this season by successful seven and drawing considered one of their first eight matches.

After the relegation battles of current seasons, it was sudden – notably on condition that earlier supervisor Mark Bowen left the membership in late August. His substitute, Veljko Paunovic, had no pre-season with which to work with the gamers. He was in quarantine.

“It has been loopy from the beginning. His first team-meeting was over Zoom as a result of he couldn’t come right down to the dressing room. So that was bizarre and then impulsively we begin the season on hearth.

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“The manager put us in a great structure, he talked a lot about mentality and connecting everyone, team spirit, individual goals and team goals. I think that is the big thing at Reading. We have got some really good players but we had good players last season.

“Now they’re pondering that in the event that they do nicely for the staff then issues will come good for them as people too. You can see that with Michael Olise being linked to prime groups, Lucas Joao having his finest scoring run, and Omar Richards being linked with Bayern Munich.”


Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Huddersfield and Reading

Olise, 19, is thought to be one of many brightest younger prospects within the Championship and he’s not alone at Reading. Morrison, on the opposite hand, was feeling his age when he appeared round to see the guy members of his again 4 through the Boxing Day win over Luton.

“You had Tom McIntyre and Tom Holmes – both big Reading fans – and it was the first time they had ever played on Boxing Day. And there was Tom Esteves who is a teenager who had never played a Christmas period having come from Portugal. I definitely felt old.”

But age has introduced expertise and a heightened consciousness of the qualities Paunovic has been capable of convey to the membership. “He is very committed in terms of his attention to detail,” says Morrison. “He is very impressive and really positive, that is the biggest thing. It is easy to criticise and tell players not to do this and that but he is really positive in his mentality.

“I write issues down and preserve them for later.”

Veljko Paunovic embraces Michael Morrison after a sport in opposition to Bristol City

That is maybe unsurprising given there could be few energetic gamers higher ready for a profession in soccer after retirement than Morrison. Despite his enterprise pursuits, the plan is to remain within the sport and he already has the {qualifications} to justify that ambition.

He has frolicked coaching the U14 staff at Reading.

“They are a little bit nervous because I am a pro,” he says. “In the first week with them, you would ask them a question and they would not want to get it wrong.”

He has his scouting {qualifications} too.

“It was really good just to brush up on my skills and look at what talent identification actually is with all these stats-based key performance indicators now.”

He has his diploma in administration and is presently finding out for a level in sporting directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“That role is going to be bigger as the game changes. Even if you are head coach you need to understand it and know how to manage upwards.”

Perhaps the one main qualification that but eludes him is the UEFA Pro Licence. “I could not get on that,” he explains. “As I am still playing there are people who supersede me.”

There is a logic to this dedication to studying.

“I want to make sure that if a role does come up then I have the qualifications for it. I think you have to be realistic. There are so many good people that want to work in football that just having a playing career is not going to be enough to get a job.

“Frank Lampard went in at Derby, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has simply gone in at Burton Albion, Sol Campbell has been to Macclesfield.

“These guys have had incredible careers, much better than mine, so just playing is not enough, you have to get your education because it is a different skill.”

Coventry City

Tuesday nineteenth January 5:55pm

Kick off 6:00pm

Morrison’s journey has not been anyplace close to as excessive profile. His taking part in profession started within the National League with Cambridge United. “It was quite old school,” he remembers. “We used to get on the bus for the away trips and we used to have fish and chips on the way home and the bus used to drop us off at the nightclub when we got back.”

There had been trials with Chelsea and Newcastle however nothing got here of them. “I thought I had missed the boat,” he admits. But Nigel Pearson had been among the many employees at St James’ Park and finally took him to Leicester City. Morrison was a part of their League One title-winning staff on the age of 21 and nearly gained promotion to the Championship in 2010.

More than a decade on and he has needed to adapt to a altering sport.

“It used to be all about how we could get behind teams, could we get the ball in the channel. Now there is not as much heading so that is a good thing for me as a defender, but it is a lot quicker. The way the ball is played through on the ground and through the lines is a lot different to how it was 10 years ago. You have to adapt to that or you fall away.”

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Passing the ball out from the again is the norm now. “Things like that were never happening when I started playing and certainly not in the Championship,” he says.

But Morrison is a distinct participant too.

“I feel I have improved on the ball. There is a real passing ethos here that the fans expect. If John Swift asks for the ball in midfield, you don’t not pass it to him because he is so talented. Ovie Ejaria is the same. I think my football has improved off the back of that.”

Coaching has helped him – in additional methods than one.

“John O’Shea has given me some good advice and we have had one-on-one sessions as well, that has been really productive. Some of the courses that I have done have helped me too. I have a better understanding now of where players should be and what I am looking for.”

Reading's Michael Morrison places in a sort out throughout a sport in opposition to Coventry

Morrison is taking part in a few of the finest soccer of his profession. The objective is clear – the prospect to finish his journey from backside to prime and attain the Premier League.

“It is a great opportunity,” says Morrison.

“It was a record-breaking start and I know that young lads think their careers are going to be brilliant and last forever but this might be an exception so you have to make the most of it.

“This is the perfect alternative that I had should get within the Premier League since these days with Leicester.

“These chances do not come around that often. I don’t want to look back on my career and have that niggling feeling that I never made a Premier League appearance.”

Watch Reading vs Coventry dwell on Sky Sports Arena from 5.55pm on Tuesday; kick-off 6pm

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