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“Putting our kids into French school was a real challenge, because they’re coming home crying, then mum’s crying and then dad’s crying, there’s a really big knock-on effect. I underestimated the value of having a balanced and calm and tranquil family life to help with the football."


The language barrier is a recurring theme in Clement’s more recent past, an issue he believes has prevented English coaches developing a better reputation in the global game.


“If you want to work abroad you have to try and crack it with a language. Staff meetings at PSG were often in four languages, so everything took more time. Here, we try and do everything in Spanish but there’s a lot of ‘can you repeat that please, so I understand’. So the process of things can take longer.”


Adaptability and flexibility, especially when embracing new and challenging environments, have proved to be crucial in Clement’s rise through the game. But it is the human qualities of a coach which he believes separate the best from the rest.


“After 20 years of experience and moving from tying kids shoe laces to working with the best players in the world I would say the most important skill for a coach is the ability to impart knowledge and to communicate, but overall it’s your personality”


“The dividing element between the very top coaches in the world is not knowledge. The thing that takes them to another level is personality and charisma. It is that ability to communicate, to get on a personal level and get the best out of players.”


In the future the Londoner hopes to have the opportunity to fill his days with the responsibilities of being a number one, rather forever playing the supporting role. However, he's in no rush.


“I do have ambitions to be a manager. I’m not in a rush and I’ve got to wait for the right opportunity. It’s got to be the right club for me and I’ve got to be the right person for the club.”


“Twenty years ago I would never have thought I would be in this position, so now I have an open mind to things and in the next ten, fifteen or twenty years I don’t dismiss or rule out anything.”


So, has the story of the grassroots Football in the Community coach who progressed to the Bernabeu disproved the myth that English coaches aren’t equipped to work on the continent?


Clement’s response is that there are many good English coaches and managers and calls for more English coaches to take the step.


“I think it’s just about some of English coaches breaking that barrier, somebody’s got to be the path finder and somebody has to be the first one through the wall and others will follow.”


"After 20 years of experience and moving


from tying kids shoe laces to working with the best players in the world I would say the most important skill for a coach is the ability to impart knowledge and to communicate, but overall it’s your personality"


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