Rachel Yankey: England legend 'teaches set-pieces while holding daughter'

Rachel Yankey
Former winger Rachel Yankey (left) won 129 senior caps for England, scoring 19 international goals

While some managers want officials to crack down on holding in the penalty area at set-pieces, one England legend has good reason to have her hands full when teaching her side's dead-ball routines.

Former Lionesses winger Rachel Yankey says she is enjoying her new role as head coach of Women's Championship side London Bees, after taking over in February until the end of the season.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live's Friday Sports Panel, the 39-year-old - who is in her first managerial role - recalled taking a training session with her 18-month-old daughter in her arms before facing Manchester United.

"I found out on the Friday that I was going to take over, and then on the Saturday morning we travelled up to Manchester for the Women's FA Cup fifth round," Yankey explained.

"We changed a few set-pieces and we didn't get a chance to practise them, but we walked through them - I was trying to teach them while holding my daughter.

"I don't think any of the players have experienced that before. It was different for me and them, but we just got on with it. That shows their character, that they had enough focus that they just got on with it."

'Players don't realise how much managers actually do'

Part-timers London Bees are fifth in the second tier, 18 points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur in the 11-team division, and a point above sixth-placed Leicester City.

Yankey, who helped Arsenal lift the European Cup in 2007, says the role came her way at short notice, after predecessor Luke Swindlehurst - whom Yankey had previously worked under - moved to a job in Barnet's boys' academy.

"We're just sort of rolling with it. What happens next season, I'm not too sure," she said. "I've just taken over until the end of the season.

"With four games left, we can't win the league and we can't get relegated. It's a position now where we need to try and get more performances and confidence in to the players and that's what I'm trying to do.

"It's been tough because it wasn't expected. It's all been a bit of a rush and a bit different. As a player, you don't realise how much coaches and managers actually do.

"Now I'm seeing it from the other side, the preparation. And these players are not fully professional, so the contact time with them is Tuesday and Thursday nights. It's not a lot of time.

"It's about trying to make sure that the messages we give are the essential messages. You can't do an information overload on the players."

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