Gary McSheffrey hopes to give Doncaster Rovers confidence boost

Gary McSheffrey wants Doncaster Rovers to ‘play without fear’ after taking interim charge following Richie Wellens’ dismissal.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 3:51 pm
Gary McSheffrey. Photo: Heather King

McSheffrey has stepped up from his role as under-18s manager and will take charge of his first game against Mansfield Town in the FA Cup tomorrow.

The 39-year-old faced the local media for the first time on Friday afternoon and said he would do all he can to inject some confidence into a squad struggling desperately for goals and wins.

"I’ve just reminded the players that they've come this far in their life and they're first team football players at a League One club,” said McSheffrey.

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“You don't become a bad player overnight, you just lose your confidence.

“When you lose your confidence you need an arm around the shoulder at times. Some individuals are stronger than others.

“The message is ‘can we go and play with the shackles off a little bit?’. Lose the fear, lose the fear of making mistakes, because ultimately there's bigger problems in the world than making a mistake on the football pitch.

“I want to try and simplify their thinking a little bit because they wouldn't be here if they were poor players.

“It's about getting a smile back on their faces and getting them fighting and running around for the shirt and sprinting a little bit more. A bit more aggression in the pressing and can you handle the football under pressure?

“I've told them to embrace the pressure of being a footballer that's expected to win more games than they are at the minute.

“It's not about changing their technical ability because a lot of them are almost better than me,” he joked. “It's changing the mindset and trying to get them confident again.”

Rovers are now searching for their fifth manager in three and a half years and hope to make an appointment within a fortnight.

McSheffrey was understandably asked whether he would be interested in the position on a full time basis.

"I've never really thought about that to be honest,” he said.

“All I know is as soon as you step up to first team level you're out of the door quicker. The academy is going in the right direction and I like where I live!

"So it's not one I'll be chasing but if we have a really good turnaround it's probably one that's going to be difficult to turn down.

"My aim is to try and pass to the new manager a squad that's up for the challenge and got a bit of confidence back.

"It’s disappointing for people to lose their jobs and leave the club but it's football and it happens often,” he added.

“I'm in a position where they’ve asked me to step in on a short term basis and I'm more than happy to help the club in whatever way I can.”