Craig Brown believes Sheffield United’s decision to appoint David Weir as manager will prove a masterstroke, writes James Shield.
Brown, who was responsible for awarding the former Rangers and Everton centre-half his Scotland debut 16 years ago, told The Star his protégé possesses “every attribute required” to make a success of his new role.
Speaking after yesterday’s announcement that United’s search for Danny Wilson’s replacement had finally drawn to a close, Brown said: “David is a hugely impressive individual and, if you consider his qualities, he’s got all of the ones you’d want someone going into management to demonstrate.
“He’s highly intelligent, he’s articulate and if you listen to his observations on the game then you quickly realise he’s got a very sharp eye for detail.
“On top of all of that, David is keen to learn. He always wants to absorb knowledge and different ideas.
“I’m absolutely convinced that he’s got every chance of doing ever so well.”
Weir, who also represented Falkirk and Hearts during an illustrious playing career encompassing 20 seasons, 69 caps and four clubs, enjoyed a brief spell training at Bramall Lane before taking charge of the Liverpudlian’s reserve team 16 months ago.
Having featured on United’s initial list of targets following Wilson’s departure in April, the 43-year-old was interviewed by members of their selection panel on Friday before spending the next 48 hours applying the finishing touches to his move.
“I’ve done a lot of research in this field and one of the least accurate barometers of a person’s chances of doing well at any job is interview,” Brown, who also managed Preston North End, Motherwell and Aberdeen, said. “The best is actually the references they bring and if you speak to any of the people that David has worked for before they’ll all speak ever so highly of him.
“I’d actually compare David to Walter Smith because they’re very similar people in terms of their honesty and application.
“He played for Walter at Everton, Rangers and for Scotland and I know how much he values David. Exactly as I do too.
“David played for over 20 years and you don’t carry on for that long, at the highest level I might add, unless you are a consummate professional and very serious about what you do.”
“When I was in charge of Scotland I can remember telling all of the elder statement in the squad to start doing their coaching badges and David has completed all of his with the SFA,” Brown added. “Fifteen years ago, I know lots of managers in England were struggling to convince players about the value of doing their badges but here in Scotland that’s never been the case.
“We always made sure we had the best people come to take the courses - Guus Hiddink, Marcello Lippi and Giovanni Trapattoni - and David was part of that wave.
“He gained a university degree before he became a professional footballer and is very bright and likeable.
“The key thing is that he’s also got the ability to process the information that he takes on board and put it to the best use.”
Weir’s immediate priority will be to assess the first team squad he inherits from Wilson before entering the transfer market.
“Knowing David as I do, the players shouldn’t misjudge kindness for softness,” Brown said. “He’s very single-minded, very driven and very focused.
“That was his character as a player and it will be the same in management.
“He’ll be fair but won’t tolerate people who don’t approach work their work with the same attitude.”