ALBION Technical Director Terry Burton has poured praise on Alan Irvine’s coaching qualities and expanded on the training ground philosophy he will look to adopt.
Irvine was unveiled to the media at The Hawthorns yesterday having been appointed as Albion’s new Head Coach.
Burton is under no doubt he is the right man for the job and insists the experienced Scot is one of the most highly-regarded coaches around.
“The profile we were looking for is a Head Coach,” Burton said.
“Alan has the ability to work with players, to develop them as a team, so he’ll work with the units, with the back four and get the organisation right.
“He’ll also work with the midfield so that he gets a good defensive base to start with.
“His philosophy is to make people comfortable on the ball, to be able to pass the ball and play and develop the attacking strategy as well.
“He’s got the all-round skill set of coaching – he’s not only an organised coach, which he would look to reflect on the team, he also has the ability to bring out creativity.
“So we’re really comfortable that the man we’ve got is arguably one of the best coaches around in the UK today.”
Albion have retained 15 of the 25 players who finished last season, while George Thorne has returned from his loan spell at Derby and Craig Gardner has agreed a switch from Sunderland.
Irvine has already confirmed the club’s interest in signing defender Joleon Lescott.
And Burton is under no illusions that, despite Irvine’s obvious qualities on the training pitch, the right kind of players also need to be brought in to help achieve Albion’s aspirations for 2014/15.
“Obviously, it’s a real challenge,” he said. “It’s no secret the club went from eighth to 17th place.
“We’ve got a small group of players, albeit it with excellent quality. So it’s very important that we work to add the quality because players win you football matches.
“Yes, you need that right coach to work with them but players win you matches.
“We’ve got an excellent group of players and we’re now looking and working extremely hard to try and add to that.”
Irvine helped build a strong reputation within the game during a five-year spell as assistant manager to David Moyes before returning to Goodison Park as Academy manager three years ago.
During those spells he worked closely with the likes of Lescott and Albion striker Victor Anichebe among a host of other household names.
And, with the summer transfer market open for business, Burton insists Irvine’s name is certainly held in high regard in all quarters of the game.
“What players do first of all is they talk to others players,” Burton said.
“If any players want to phone Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Jack Rodwell…you could go through the list of players Alan has worked with.
“To a man, the people he has worked with - whether it be players, staff around the stadium or football staff - you’ll be really struggling to find someone who has got a bad word to say about Alan Irvine.”