Doncaster Rovers: Birthday boy Gary McSheffrey has got the buzz for his unexpected management shot

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Not even a trip to Shrek's Adventure and the Natural History Museum could take Gary McSheffrey’s mind of Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat.

A day out in the capital with his partner and their four children was how the Doncaster Rovers boss attempted to switch off on Wednesday after the club’s first loss of the season at the hands of Lincoln City.

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But switching off is easier said than done.

Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD.Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD.
Doncaster Rovers boss Gary McSheffrey. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD.

"It was a busy day for me; lots of walking, carrying kids and train journeys,” said McSheffrey, who turns 40 today.

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"It was the thing I least wanted to do but I’m glad we did it because the kids were delighted to go on the train for the first time in a while, so it was a good day.

"I watched the game on the train. You can’t switch off, but you obviously have to try and get the balance.”

The strain football management takes on those in the hot seat and their loved ones has been laid bare in a BBC podcast following the fortunes of Oxford United and Rotherham in the final few months of last season.

Throughout the series, its protagonists, Karl Robinson and Paul Warne, exhibited all the emotions you might expect from two bosses in a relegation scrap, not a promotion push.

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It makes you wonder how stressful it must be for those at the other end of the table.

McSheffrey was thrown in at the deep end at the start of December as he began his journey in management.

As he reaches a major milestone in his life, did he envisage being in this position at 40?

"It wasn’t my plan after my playing career,” McSheffrey – undeterred by last season’s relegation – admits.

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“I wasn’t one of those coaches that was constantly craving the next bigger opportunity.

"I was settled in my life, had a young family and was happy with what I was doing.

"We had chats briefly last year at the time and I was in a position where I didn’t want to chase it, I was just enjoying what I was doing.

"Then you get hooked – you get the buzz for it – and I’m extremely grateful for the position I’m in. In this country there’s only 91 other people that have this job.

"I’m determined to do well at it.”

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A perfect present this weekend would, of course, be three points. It would certainly make the long coach journey home pass by that bit quicker.

Had things been different, former winger McSheffrey might have been turning out as a player this afternoon.

“I was disappointed when my career was cut short at 35, I thought I could play on until now. We have still got good players in the game playing until 38, 39, 40.

"But it’s nice to get this opportunity, it was nice to coach the youth team for a few seasons, and it’s nice to stay in the game and keep that routine.”

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He adds: "You see a lot of players slip into mental health problems when you have had 20 years of doing the same thing every day and then all of a sudden it changes and you’re thinking ‘what do I do with my day?’.

"It’s been a good transition for me.”