Graham Potter does not think about influencing other English coaches

George Sessions, PA
·3-min read

Brighton boss Graham Potter will do battle with another English manager this weekend but still does not sit easy with the notion he is a role model for the next generation of homegrown coaches.

After pitting his wits against Sean Dyche, 49, last Saturday, the Seagulls manager will go head-to-head with Aston Villa’s Dean Smith who is the same age as the Burnley counterpart.

Potter is four years their junior but part of a group of English coaches who have slowly made a mark in the top flight after making the jump up from the Sky Bet Championship.

In the long-term the hope will be the aforementioned trio have opened doors for aspiring managers from this country to earn a shot in the Premier League in spite of a modest playing career.

But Potter admitted: “I don’t really think about it in that way. I just think we’re very fortunate to be in this position.

“There are 20 jobs in the Premier League and we’re fortunate to have one of those and a lot of coaches around the world would like to swap places.

“You have to think you’re fortunate and with that comes a responsibility and you have to try to do your best and be yourself, but I have not really thought about how I influence other people.

“It is just to try to do my best and be me. Dean will do his best and try to be him, Sean will do his best and try to be him and we are all different.

“The great thing about coaching is there is not a right way or wrong way. Everyone will have their own way of doing things and we can all learn from each other.”

Potter’s journey to the top tier of English football via Ostersunds and Swansea is a frequently told tale, but the former Birmingham defender did concede when he started in Sweden one of the aims was to help the people around him.

The Brighton boss could take charge of his 400th game in management at some point in 2021 which would easily surpass his total number of appearances as a player.

“People can look at your work and think ‘that is good’ or they can look at it and think ‘no, that is not good and I will do it this way’ and that is fine as well,” Potter added.

“Football is so great because there is not a right way of doing anything, you just have to do your best with the ideas you have and the resources you have.

“If that promotes thought and promotes debate then that is brilliant. That is how it moves forward and the game continues to be interesting.

“I haven’t got all the answers and I don’t get everything right but at the same time it would be nice that you have influenced people because that is what life is all about.”

Unbeaten in five league games, Brighton could set a new club record for their longest sequence of Premier League fixtures without losing if they avoid defeat on Saturday.

In Aston Villa, they will face a side who have won six times on the road in this season’s top flight after a successful summer transfer window where they signed Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Bertrand Traore and Ollie Watkins.

“The goalkeeper has come in and made a big difference,” Potter said.

“Cash has done well at right-back, they’ve added (Ross) Barkley, Traore and Watkins up front and that takes the pressure off Jack Grealish a little bit to not be the sole provider that he was a bit last year.

“They’re more of an attacking unit with really good players at the top end of the pitch that can hurt you in a second.

“They’ve also got the ability to keep clean sheets. Credit to Dean and the team there, the balance of the team is really good.”