A fortnight can seem a long time in football, but the last two weeks have flown by for first team coach Nathan Rooney as he has set about the task of settling into his new role as a key part of Steven Pressley’s staff.
But, just to make things slightly more interesting as the new season kicks off today, the fixture gods combined to put him up against the club where he spent part of last year as assistant to Gabriele Cioffi – Crawley Town.
We spoke to him about his time with today’s opponents earlier this week.
“It was a great experience for me there,” he said. “People will say it was a bit early for me to have picked up an assistant manager role, but it wasn’t early at all. It gives you that responsibility.
“As your career moves on you’ll find yourself sometimes in a comfort zone, just turning up to work and coaching every day, but Crawley was a really good year.
“I felt from a football point of view the manager and I really instilled the playing philosophy, it was evident to see from the fans, but there’s a lot of players down there and you’ve got to try and keep everyone happy.”
“Crawley did a lot for me,” he continued. “It was working with Gabriele, who I’ve known for a few years, with a continental style of football. Look, it doesn’t matter what motivates you, what motivates me is working for good people. It was an exciting time.
“We played against Carlisle a couple of times … got beat twice … and the second to last game of the season was an exciting game. We put together some good working practices down there and I’m sure that will carry on for them this season.
“I’m sure there’ll be little pointers I can look at from last season with regard to Crawley but, let’s be honest, everyone’s had pre-season now. There are new strategies, new ways of working and I’m sure Crawley will have instilled that in pre-season.”
On his reasons for leaving, he told us: “It’s more of a family [thing] really, getting myself back up north. It’s a big year for me and the missus, marriage at the end of the season, I’ll put that out there!
“I just felt there’s a gut feeling that I needed to stay up north this year. There were potentially other moves as well, prior to Carlisle, but I’d worked with Steven Pressley before so this felt right.
“I don’t have any bad words to say about any club, it was a brilliant time last season. Like I say, the manager down there has done excellent things with the club, he’s established himself on and off the grass and he’s made it more of a family club.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him again. He’ll be the same, still as passionate as ever. The two of us are always in touch. We talk about football - we won’t talk about how both clubs are doing their work, that’s the game and we’ve got to be professional and we’ve got to help our clubs.
“He’s a great family man. He looked after me a lot, we’re like brothers from that point of view, and I hope they go a long way this year because Gabriele deserves it, he’s a good man.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Nathan Rooney on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.