Gary McSheffrey's view on what went wrong at Doncaster Rovers under Richie Wellens

Interim manager Gary McSheffrey has suggested that Doncaster Rovers’ young squad could benefit from ‘more constructive’ coaching.

Saturday, 4th December 2021, 6:00 am
Richie Wellens. Picture: Steve Flynn/

McSheffrey sympathised with predecessor Richie Wellens, whose ultimately short and unsuccessful spell in charge was blighted by injuries and illness, when he spoke to the media yesterday.

But Rovers’ under-18s boss also hinted that he will adopt a more patient and understanding approach with the club’s raft of young players.

McSheffrey says they need ‘nurturing’ and ‘guidance’ and can’t be expected to produce ‘perfect performances’.

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He takes charge of his first game today against Mansfield Town in the second round of the FA Cup.

“The injuries are an obvious one,” said McSheffrey, when he was asked by BBC Radio Sheffield for his observations on what has gone wrong this season.

“It’s never nice having 12, 13, 14 injured players on a regular basis who could comfortably come in and do a job in the first team and you’d have decent numbers for rotating for any type of formation or team you come up against.

“But it is a hurdle that happens in football and you obviously have to deal with that.

“And the players that you do play – especially if they’re youngsters – they’re not going to be the finished product. You can always be learning.

“I think at times maybe it could have been a bit more constructive in how they were coached, rather than expecting the perfect performance from players that are just starting out their careers.

“We still have to coach these boys, we still have to develop these boys because the average age of the team is really young.

“There’s only probably three or four experienced players out on the pitch at the minute. So the rest of them, they still need nurturing and they still need guidance.

“For me to come in here over the next few games and expect top performances and no one to make errors would just be naive and silly.

“It’s accepting there will be mistakes but it’s how you react and respond to them. They’re the big things that can be the difference.”

Wellens was sacked on Thursday with Rovers second from bottom in League One and six points adrift of safety. He won six of his 26 matches in charge in all competitions.

Was Wellens unlucky, given the numerous issues he had to face?

“Yes, probably,” said McSheffrey

“Obviously he’s made a lot of signings and then played them probably a few times and then they’ve not been available for whatever reason – injuries, Covid, et cetera et cetera.

“In an ideal world if you’re a manager in the results business and you’ve assembled a squad of 20-25 players you do want them at your disposal and to be able to use them.

“But it’s never a perfect world.

“I do feel for the fact he never had his full capacity squad but you have to adapt and deal with what comes your way.

“If that is young players then you have to accept there will be mistakes and it’s how you try and get the best out of those young players.”