Steven Schumacher and Neil Dewsnip

Dewsnip on Schumacher's First Year in Charge

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Argyle Director of Football Neil Dewsnip has rated Steven Schumacher’s first year in charge of Plymouth Argyle as an ‘incredible success’.

Schumacher celebrated a year in the job on Wednesday. His first 12 months on charge saw Argyle narrowly miss out on the Sky bet League One play-offs, with the Pilgrims currently leading the division this time round, 20 games into the season.

Schumacher was given the job following Ryan Lowe’s departure for Preston North End, and Dewsnip looked back on Schumacher’s tenure during an appearance on this week’s Argyle Podcast, telling us how much he thinks Schumacher has developed.

“That was an interesting day in my life, this time last year,” said Neil.

“He has become much more mature in the way that he makes decisions. He has had to do that because the expectations when you are the manager are completely different to when you are the assistant manager.

“In my mind the last year has been an incredible success, to get right to the edge of the play-offs and to be where we are at this stage in the league is an amazing journey. I wouldn’t want that journey to be undervalued.

“The players must take great credit in that, but it is the relationship that Steven has with the players which is key. Not just Steven, but the staff that are immediately around him. Mark [Hughes], it was announced on Tuesday, has a new contract, which is another positive sign, and Darren Behcet and Nance assist him on a day-to-day basis. It is a really good environment.

“It’s very much about development. We sometimes forget that the staff are developing every day; Argyle’s philosophy would be that we are all learning, myself included. We’re on a journey to make Steven Schumacher the best manager he can possibly be.

“His record would be pretty impressive as a League One manager.”

Dewsnip is appearing weekly on the podcast to discuss the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, and a topic was raised of squad management. Not only is England manager Gareth Southgate, and all other bosses in the World Cup, tasked with ensuring their players are happy, fit and motivated, but it is a job that is required on a day-to-day basis for any club manager, Schumacher included.

The Argyle manager has earned praise for his use of substitutes throughout the season, and Neil explained a little about the rationale behind team selection and the planning that goes into it.

“It’s a real skill that every manager needs to develop very, very quickly,” he said. “Keeping people happy isn’t the same as rotating the squad. It is easy to keep people happy: you just pick them. I have deep discussions with Steven and other technical staff at Argyle. There’s a real thoroughness to the way we want to play against whichever opponent It is, and what the team needs to look like to give us the best chance of winning. Steven’s attention to detail over the last few months is probably what has got us into such a good position.

“We talk about a concept of starters and finishers these days. In times gone by, logically, everyone would think that the starting 11 is the best team. That’s not necessarily true anymore. The finishers have a really clear role to play, and it’s about impact.

“The game plan won’t necessarily be to start with 11 players and those 11 to play the whole 90 minutes. That can happen, but the likelihood is that because of physicality of the game, if people are playing full pelt – in our system, that is very often the wing-backs, or the front players – they are unlikely to be able to get the distance playing at the tempo we expect them to play. The finishers understand that this is going to be the case, there is a high probability they are going to come onto the field.

“There is no magic number, but a trend is that around 60 or 65 minutes changes are made, and there is an expectation from the staff that they are not just coming on to have a nice time, they have to make an impact in the game. It’s planned. It’s not just ‘we’ll throw him on’, there is a lot of planning that goes on, right until the end of the game.”

On the podcast, Neil also discusses officiating, the World Cup in general and England’s chances in the quarter-finals. Neil’s chat features on a podcast headlined by a fascinating interview by Charlie Price with Gary Sawyer, possibly the most in-depth and revealing that Gary, who made 298 appearances for Argyle and is now a club ambassador, has ever given.

Listen to the podcast on all the leading podcast providers, or by clicking here.

World Cup at Home Park