I played for Enzo Maresca in Premier League – this is why I knew he was a mastermind instantly

Enzo Maresca and Manuel Pellegrini
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Robert Snodgrass pinpointed the moment he realised Enzo Maresca was a football "mastermind".

The ex-West Ham United star worked with the incoming Chelsea boss during his time with the Hammers, where Maresca was part of the coaching team under Manuel Pellegrini.

The Italian - who gained promotion to the top-flight with Leicester last season - was a popular figure among the players due to his coaching style. He was even given the opportunity by the Chilean boss to decide on the tactics for several games.

Snodgrass, 36, spoke glowingly of Maresca last year when he stated that the players believed he'd reach the top of the sport. Maresca is now set to get that opportunity with his appointment as Chelsea manager reportedly set to be confirmed on Monday (June 3).

The former Scotland international told the Daily Record: "What I loved about him at West Ham was he took the time to work with players and improve them. He’ll identify areas in certain players’ game, work on it, make them better and that in turn will help the team. He will educate those lads on a different style, a different process.

"He’ll go to the very top. We all used to talk about it at West Ham. The players had no doubt he would develop into one of the best coaches around. When I think of what I learned from him, he really opened up my mind."

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Robert Snodgrass
Robert Snodgrass spent four years with West Ham before retiring from football earlier this year -Credit:Getty

The Scotsman hung up his boots in January earlier this year. But, during his four-year stint in east London, he revealed that it was Maresca who sparked the moment he began thinking about different positions during the game.

"Enzo is a massive advocate of positional play," he remarked. "He was the first coach who, tactically, made me think about different positions on the pitch. He’s big on overloads and how to create space. Remember, at West Ham it was right at the start of his coaching journey – but he was a mastermind.

"When I first listened to him, I knew straight away he would be a success. His attention to detail when it comes to football is second to none. He’s a student of the game."