Q & A with Glen Johnson

1.       Hi Glen, thanks for joining us today, do you want to start off by telling us why you’re out here in India?


Coming out to India presented a great opportunity for me to test myself in a challenging environment. It also gives me the chance to work with such a respected coach in Mike Snoei. He has been head coach at massive clubs like Sparta Rotterdam, Panathinaikos, Vitesse to name a few, so when I heard he and Pune Football Club were interested in hiring me I jumped at the chance.


2.       And why have you chosen to come over to India as opposed to staying in England/USA?


I think it was the idea of working from a blank canvas. Goalkeeping hasn’t been too high on the priority list here India in the past, Pune FC are a very forward thinking football club who really felt it was important to improve this, this excited me! I’m the first goalkeeping coach the club has had and as it stands I’m one of 3 GK coaches working within the I-League, I’m certainly the only foreign Gk coach at the moment.


3.       What’s the talent like over in India, we don’t see many Indian footballers over in England, do you expect that to change?


I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the level here, I can only see it improving and with that hopefully opportunities may open up for players to move across to England. We’ve just signed Mustapha Riga who scored for Lavente against Barcelona at the Nou Camp not so long ago, so it shows that good quality foreign players actually want to come and play here in the I-League.


4.       Who are you coaching out there?


I work on a daily basis with the clubs 3 senior goalkeepers. I’m very lucky that they’re all good lads who want to listen and work hard. They all have great attitudes and already in the 4 months I’ve been here, I’ve seen some big improvements in each of them. We’ve kept 4 clean sheets in our first 5 I-League games. So it’s been a positive start to things.


5.       What’s a typical day like for you at the moment and how does it differ to back here?


It differs from day to day, but generally we would start the day in the gym, we normally start around 10am. We’re very lucky here, we have a fantastic fitness coach who really knows how to get the boys in top physical condition. The boys would then return home, rest up / eat well and return to the training ground around 4pm for a 4.30pm start. We normally train for around 1hr-1hr 30 depending on the load that week. It’s far too hot to train from 8am – 4pm so we have to train in the evening when it’s cooler.


I’d say the difference from a personal stand point is the language barrier, at  times it can be tricky as the Indian boys don’t always understand my Essex accent !


6.       How did you get into coaching?


I first started coaching when I was with Canvey Island, I used to assist with the coaching of the youth team goalkeepers.


7.       Who did you play for? 


I played for Canvey Island, I started in the youth team and worked my way through into the reserves eventually signing a 1st team contract on leaving school. I was lucky to be coached by former Wales and Everton legend Neville Southall. It didn’t really work out for me there with opportunities very limited. After my release I floated around some Non-league clubs, but started to lose interest due to the politics.


8.       Is it true that all goalkeepers are mad?


100% ! You have to have a slight screw loose if you are willing to let people smash footballs at all sorts of speeds at you. Being a goalkeeper you’re an individual. I’m a big believer at whatever club I’ve been at that the goalkeeping union is a strong unit.


9.       Can you tell us a bit more about your venture with @ProGK?


I started PRO-GK in 2007, basically to give goalkeepers another option in the market. I wanted to provide a good quality product at a decent price. In this time the brand has really grown. We’ve been worn in some pretty major competitions around the world, the biggest being the Premier League.


10.   Where can we get the gloves from and how much do they cost?


You can get the gloves directly from our website www.pro-gk.com, they are currently on sale at £19.99 (RRP £40.99) with a new range hopefully being released around Christmas time.


11.   Can you give any advice to aspiring goalkeepers?


Always look to improve and work hard. As a goalkeeper you will always have set backs, dust yourself down and go again.