Bould enjoying life in the Academy

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Steve Bould says he’s ‘loving’ his return to the Arsenal Academy although he admits his face often tells a different story.

After seven years as assistant first team coach, the 56-year-old traded places with Freddie Ljungberg in the summer and now coaches the under-23s.

Under Bould’s mentorship, the kids have started the Premier League 2 campaign in fine fettle, notching wins against Blackburn and Brighton.

After the latter – a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from Nathan Tormey and Emile Smith Rowe – Bould talked to Arsenal.com. 

“I’m loving it [being back with the Academy],” he said. “I know I don’t look like I’m loving it sometimes, but I think that’s just always the case! I’m enjoying coaching, planning and working with the kids. They’re good kids.”

Bould also touched on Smith Rowe’s gradual return to full fitness.

The midfielder, who scored three goals for the first team last season before heading to RB Leipzig on loan, has been battling a persistent groin problem during pre-season and is only just back kicking a ball in anger.

“It’s huge for him [scoring],” said Bould. “He played 45 minutes in the first game and got to 60 today, and we were always going to take him off, so it was great that he scored just before he came off.

“He’s building up his fitness and as far as we know he’s having no problems with his old injury, so it’s a major plus for everybody.”

It’s rumoured that Smith Rowe could yet go out on loan for the year. RB Leipzig and Wolfsburg are said to be waiting patiently with their transfer window not shutting for another two weeks.

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C.B.
C.B.

Glad to see him enjoying things. He never seemed very happy in the first time coaching role plus never seemed to be very effective with the defence in particular.

Hopefully works out well for both Freddie and Bouldie, Arsenal legends.

dan
dan

He wasn’t the defensive coach

C.B.
C.B.

I struggle with the argument that he was assistant coach not defensive coach.

Can’t an assistant coach have a say on the defence? Especially one that has played in defence at the highest level?

Punter
Punter

Maybe Bouldy was never happy in the first team role because of how shit the defence was.

C.B.
C.B.

How shit would a defence be that had Senderos, Eboue, Kolo and Flamini in it?

Badaab
Badaab

If not for some suspect officiating in Paris, it would have been shit enough to win a Champions League (yes, I know I’m neglecting Sol in there, but the above four played a huge part in getting us to the final).

Samgunz
Samgunz

Sorry but what does that defence have to do with Bould? He was not assistant coach back then, Pat Rice was.

C.B.
C.B.

They had many clean sheets in a row in the CL, 8 I believe. Keown was involved in coaching them. Not great players on the face of it but well coached.

If Bould wasn’t involved passing his knowledge of defending over what was he doing?

Pat Fried Rice with Egg
Pat Fried Rice with Egg

He was head coach of the Arsenal U18s Academy side. In 2012, he took over from Pat Rice.

Goonerjag
Goonerjag

Oi! Leave Eboue, Kolo and Flamini out of that sentence please!!

Canador
Canador

That is where he belongs! He was a disappointment with first team. The defence was in shambles during his time as Wenger 2nd in command.

goonero
goonero

STEVE 👏 BOULD 👏 IS 👏 NOT 👏 A 👏 DEFENSIVE 👏 COACH 👏

Reality check
Reality check

Bould was an assistant coach not a defense coach. There was very little defensive input from Bouldy. Wenger was very authoritarian when it came to his hold on the team or how it was run. The coaching, tactics or mentality, it all came from Wenger.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Yes, that’s how I read the situation. Bould never really looked happy or settled in that role and his views didn’t appear to have any weight with Wenger.

Many people still don’t realise the degree of control that Wenger had over many aspects of the club – beyond the playing/coaching side – as the Board were scared stiff that he’d leave although not towards the end, of course. He has spoken many, many times about the offers he received while at Arsenal (not so many now apparently – which may tell us something), but he wouldn’t have got that control elsewhere.

canon fodder
canon fodder

…and you were there on the training pitch each day as an assertion to your views?

Winterburns right wand
Winterburns right wand

Great use of emoji. 👌

Cacho
Cacho

People keep saying this, but I remember about 5 years ago the talk was that he’d been given a specific defensive coaching role by Wenger. Blogs talked about it on the podcast. It may have been the year we brought in Gabriel, can’t remember. It also coincided with a great first half run with very few goals conceded. There was praise for his defensive work then. Did I dream that up?

goonero
goonero

“Talk” like that is just unsubstantiated conjecture though

It goes something like:

Steve Bould used to be a very good defender -> Steve Bould is now a coach -> Steve Bould is a defensive coach

Steve Bould “the defensive coach” is Arsenal assistant manager -> Arsenal have a bad defence -> Steve Bould should be able to fix Arsenal defence, he’s a “defensive coach” after all -> Steve Bould’s main job is to fix the Arsenal defence

Arsenal defence continues to be bad -> Steve Bould is not a good defensive coach and/or/because Arsene Wenger doesn’t let Steve Bould do his job properly -> Steve Bould failed to do his job

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

Any argument on the merits of his coaching ability can be counterd by “But he’s not no hair, so we dont care.”

PGunner
PGunner

Fair play to the club/Bouldy for making the right decision to for him to swap roles with Freddie. It’s all about recognising and maximising your strengths and early signs are promising that the lateral moves may work out well in the longer term for the Arsenal.

Goonereality
Goonereality

A round peg finally in a round hole – good luck to him.

Bould was grossly under used by the club when Wenger was in charge and we never got the best out of him. Under the new management team we seem to be making the decisions that we should have made over past seasons.

Mayor McCheese
Mayor McCheese

Yes, finally Steve is getting pegged properly.

Badaab
Badaab

Pleased to see Steve Bould smiling again.

Dave Cee
Dave Cee

It would make more sense for Mkhi to be moved on and ESR given the game time if the coaches really believe he is good enough

Abhishek
Abhishek

Can we please stop bashing Wenger? Those of you who wanted him to stay have no reason to and those of you who wanted him to leave should be happy to see his back. Not trying to be rude but I feel that arguing over Wenger’s follies makes us seem like United fans who are always bitching about their squad.