Emblen waits for coaching career to kick off

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 05:00 11/10/2012
neil emblen
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WAITING GAME: Neil Emblen is hopeful of landing a coaching job with Wellington Pheonix academy.

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He may be out of fulltime work right now but All Whites assistant Neil Emblen certainly hasn't been rusting away on the coaching shelf.

Emblen, who led the Oly-Whites to the Olympics, has essentially been out of a job post-London with his services not required this season at Waitakere United, the national league club he led to three successive premiership titles.

He has a stint on the training pitch this week, as Ricki Herbert's assistant with the All Whites who have World Cup qualifying matches against Tahiti in Papeete on Saturday (NZ time) and in Christchurch next Tuesday.

Emblen has had some small-time offers since the Olympics but has turned them down. "I don't want to take on something small and let them down because something bigger and better comes along," he said.

"I've stayed away from a couple of things I've been offered already because I want to be able to look people in the eye and say: I'm here for the long term."

Instead, he has been "upskilling" himself, including learning more about computer analysis.

"There are lots of things you can do that you don't get a chance to do when you're coaching fulltime and are so focused on your team. I feel like I'm learning without coaching."

A fulltime academy coach at the Wellington Phoenix is expected to be appointed soon and Emblen said it would be a "great career move" for him.

"It'd be great to be part of that setup; they're now focused on giving young Kiwi boys a pathway and that's all most people in the game have ever wanted."

He hoped the topic would be raised with Phoenix head coach Herbert this week. There had been informal discussions but no formal approach. I'm not counting any chickens, a lot of other people out there would love that job too."

One of the upsides to not coaching fulltime was that his fantasy English Premier League team was "on fire", he joked.

"I'm about 3000th out of 2.5 million in the world and about 20th in New Zealand but I guess that means there are 19 better coaches than me!"

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