Thomas Telford School Education Masterclass

Tue, 18 Oct 2022


Mike Phelan

Mike Phelan, a Premier and Champions league winner as assistant manager of Man Utd, among a career spanning over 20 major trophies at all levels of the game.


Dave Horrocks

Dave Horrocks has worked on support teams at Manchester United, British Cycling and in European and USPGA Touring Golf. He is a published scientist and author in the fields of elite performance and serial winning in sports. Recent work has taken him inside England Rugby, The NBA, Borussia Dortmund, The Royal College of Ballet, Team Ineos, The Military, The DFB, Red Bull and FC Monaco among others.

Elite sports stars, Mike Phelan and Dave Horrocks, have been passing on tips of how to be the best in your field as part of a series of masterclasses for students at Thomas Telford School. Mike, who has won the Premier League and Champions League as Manchester United Assistant Manager, as well being named FA Premier League manager of the month in September 2017 when manager of Hull City, led a practical football coaching session to students.

He has more than 35 years of experience in the football industry, beginning his career at Burnley FC before moving to Norwich. Mike joined Manchester United in 1989 as a player before moving into coaching in 2000 where he trained the team through multiple league championships.

As part of a new partnership with, Thomas Telford School are utilising their football equipment, accessories and products, all of which are very important to use in maintaining the highest of standards for our students across all age groups. Alongside this both Mike and Dave have been into school to help develop and grow the football we offer at school through the sports courses and coaching, analysis, and careers in sport.

In his theory session, Mike asked the students to study a recent Premier League match, looking at the different aspects of the game plan and coaching implemented.

The students were then asked to think about the technical, tactical and psychological aspects of the game and consider as a coach what strategies they would use to get the best from their team during the half-time talk. These strategies were put into practice as the students took turns to coach each other during a practice match.

Mike said: “You will have your own idea of your game plan; you will discuss strengths and weaknesses and then plan your actions. A lot of it is about your personality, communication and what you do to get your message across. There’s a collective element, but then there’s also times when certain players require your attention. In Premier League there is no escape from analysis – it’s 24/7.

Dave Horrocks added: “There are so many aspects of the game of football and elite sport in the modern game. The psychological preparation and thought process is paramount to ensure all the players can focus and concentrate on performing at their best. The physiological side of the game is more prevalent than ever. All Footballers are athletes, and the way teams play with pressing high, requires high interval sprints and training should mimic this.

Director of Football, Des Lyttle, commented: ‘its great for our football students to get the opportunity to work with people of this stature. We train with most days and its nice to see that the quality of the coaching our students are receiving is similar and the messages we put across are the same as people who have been at the highest level of the game.

Thomas Telford pride themselves on the quality of their coaching, facilities, and success in football. We have several students who join us in the 6th form for both our academic reputation and due to our historical success in football. We welcome applications for current Year 11 students to apply for our 6th form, starting in September 2023.


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