A WHITLEY Bay football coach admits rubbing shoulders with England No.1 Joe Hart has given him extra incentive to leave his mark on the game.
Nick Lander is currently in the second year of a sports science with coaching degree at Northumbria University, having started gaining his experience at Saffron Walden Town back in 2010.
And he was given a helping hand back in 2012 when he was awarded a Gillette Great Start Grant.
Last week Lander met Man City and England goalkeeper Hart at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium.
And the 20-year-old insists coming face-to-face with Premier League, FA and League Cup winning Hart will live long in his memory as he continues to learn his trade.
“I am working with under 15s right now but I have worked with reception kids through to adults and the Gillette Great Start Grant has been really beneficial,” said Lander.
“I want to be able to progress as far as a can. I have a year left in my degree but when I finish I would like to go full-time into a football club and work as a coach so hopefully the support I have had from Gillette will help me get into that.
“It was really good to meet Joe and it is not something you get to do every day of the week.
“Speaking to him it is interesting to hear about his career and his relationship with his coaches. You can always pick up little titbits and it is really beneficial and really good.
“Joe was a nice guy and some of the things he said resonates from what I want to do in terms of coaching.
“Hearing that he enjoys it most when a coach gives his players some freedom is how I want to be so it was reassuring to hear really.”
“The Gillette Great Start programme is a fantastic opportunity for people to make a start in coaching,” Hart said.
“Coaching is getting more and more popular nowadays but it is not always easy to get into. It is expensive so opportunities like this is great for sport to move on.
“The opportunities that come with the grants and to be involved in coaching and see the potential in youngsters right the way through is great and I wish Nick all the best for the future.”
Gillette’s Great Start programme celebrates the role of coaching and encourages people to get into coaching by offering grants. To apply for a coaching grant visit www.facebook.co.uk/GilletteUK open from April 8.