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19th Oct 2017

‘It doesn’t help kids’: Damien Duff criticises ‘pain-in-the-arse’ parents

Do parents get too involved in kids' activities?

Anna O'Rourke

“I just tell them to piss off.”

Damien Duff has admitted that dealing with parents has been one of the trickiest parts of underage coaching.

The former Ireland international recently took over managing the under-15s side at Dublin’s Shamrock Rovers and said he is enjoying it despite the pushy parents.

“I’ve really loved it and it’s given me something to focus on,” he said.

“There’s lot of work involved from setting up training sessions to dealing with pain-in-the-arse parents.

“A few of the parents have tried getting involved – saying ‘my little Johnny is this or that’ – but I just tell them to piss off. It doesn’t help the kids.”

Duff warming up before a Euro 2012 match.

He revealed that some parents were also unhappy with his decision to hold early-morning training sessions before school.

“Our best three sessions of the year have been the 6.30am ones,” he said.

“It’s the first time anyone has done it in this country but none of the players want to miss out so it has snowballed.

“Some cavemen in Ireland are giving me stick for getting them out of bed but it’s the best time to learn.”

He also spoke about the ‘tough love’ attitude he adopts with players.

“I’m probably too tough on them, they probably hate me but that’s the way I was brought up with the underage team and at Blackburn so that’s how I’m doing it.

“I was always told how shit it was or I needed to do something better.”