WHILST most professional footballers chill out on the beach during the close season, Forest Green captain Jared Hodgkiss chose to spend the summer break back in a classroom.
With a sharp-eye on a potential future as a manager, the 25-year-old right-back has just spent two intensive weeks undergoing his UEFA B coaching badges at Premiership club Aston Villa.
His appetite for coaching was whetted last season after youth team coach Scott Bartlett invited him to along to a few sessions with Forest Green’s U18s.
“I had already done my Level Two exam when I was a young pro at West Brom and I spoke to Scott and he invited me along to help coach the young lads,”revealed Hodgkiss.
The course was tutored by former Coventry City right-back Brian Borrows and Mike Cook, the Stroud-born former Coventry City and Cambridge United midfielder who is the PFA coach educator for the South West.
Cook said: “Jared did well and if he progresses he will obtain his badge within six to nine months. He will also have to undertake 17 hours coaching with the U18s at Forest Green as part of his coaching log.”
Hodgkiss was joined on the course by Coventry City boss Andy Thorn, former Swindon Town favourite Rory Fallon and Republic of Ireland and West Brom defender Steven Reid.
The Forest Green captain feels the coaching experience will stand him in good stead in his professional sporting path.
He added: “It really benefited me and should help my game. From a managerial point of view it gave me a greater insight.
“I always thought about being a manager and not in a big-headed way, I believe I have the right temperament to become a manager at some point in the future.”
Despite playing just over 150 games, Hodgkiss has already played under a plethora of big-name managers and believes Hockaday is up there with the best of them.
He said: “I’ve played under Gary Megson, Aidy Boothroyd, Bryan Robson, Tony Mowbray, Jimmy Calderwood, Stuart Gray and the gaffer is right up alongside them.”
u FOREST Green return to pre-season training tomorrow.