Rotherham United: Stresses and strains of Paul’s new career

Paul Warne, who has been awarded a testimonial by the Club is given a huge reception by the massed travelling fans
Paul Warne, who has been awarded a testimonial by the Club is given a huge reception by the massed travelling fans

THE transition from player to coach is a tricky one ... just ask Paul Warne.

It was nearly 10 months ago the former Rotherham United striker decided to call it a day and devote all of his time and energy to a new challenge.

Now the effervescent Warne is the Millers development coach. His role includes working with the club’s youngsters, reserves and first-team players.

“Coaching is ridiculously stressful, particularly on match days,” Warne told The Star. “When you are a player, if you lose, you are disappointed but you can go away and think ‘I will put it right in training or in the next game’.

“When you are solely a member of staff, it is worse than that because you go home and think ‘could we have done something different?’ or ‘what went wrong?’”

Quite often Warne takes his work home with him.

“The kids have noticed a change in me; I always seem to be on the phone when I am at home now,” he said. “I have found it hard to switch off and relax.

“Coaching takes a lot more of a mental strain. You are always trying to think of ways of improving the squad, watching DVDs of the opposition and speaking to other managers so it is a lot different to the playing side.”

Fans favourite Warne played in the promotion-winning sides of 2000 and 2001. This season, Rotherham are well placed in League Two and Warne believes the team are equipped to go up.

He said: “There is big pressure on the team to do well. We seem to be favourites to win every match.

“I have always had confidence in the squad that was assembled in the summer that it would be more than sufficient to get promoted, but we have not consistently performed to the level I expected.

“If the lads play to their potential, they should beat any team in this league. We have got all our important players back fit. The gaffer (Steve Evans) has got a big pool of players to choose from and there’s lots of competition for places right now.

“In the last few games, we have played a lot better and the results have come with that.”

It promises to be a busy couple of months for Warne. Awarded a testimonial last year for 2013 after completing 10 years with the Millers across two spells, the 39-year-old has lined up multiple events to mark the occasion.

His testimonial game will take place at New York Stadium on Tuesday, April 30. The opponents have yet to be finalised but many of Warne’s best pals from his first spell at the club will be taking part, including Guy Branston and Darren Garner.

Ronnie Moore and John Breckin have also been booked in as guest speakers for a testimonial dinner at New York Stadium on Saturday, March 23 after the Exeter City clash. Other events include a golf day at Roundwood on May 24, a comedy night and six pub evenings (the Droppingwell, Ring O’Bells, Horse and Jockey, Rawmarsh, Hare and Hounds, Wickersley CC and the Queens at Maltby).

Warne said: “It is going to be a crazy three months. It is a lot more work than I thought. My life is made a lot easier if we keep on winning!”

He has also thanked his “unbelievable” three-man testimonial committee for their support.