Glen Johnson: Goalkeeping, West Ham United and Dagenham and Redbridge

Credit: Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club

You are currently goalkeeping coach at Dagenham & Redbridge. How are you enjoying your time and your role so far and how would you describe a club such as Dagenham & Redbridge?

My time at Dagenham & Redbridge has been enjoyable so far and I joined the club two years ago under the then manager Peter Taylor. Pete had brought me in initially after we started working at Gillingham FC in League One when he was the Director Of Football.

He left the club and I left the club at the end of the season and I moved on to the Women’s team at West Ham. He then got in touch with me and spoke about the project at Dagenham & Redbridge and at the time they had new ownership coming in from the United States and that it was an exciting project to be involved with and from my point of view to work again with Peter Taylor somebody that gave David Beckham the England captaincy and he is held in high regard by a lot of people in football.

Credit: Vinhtantran

It was difficult initially when I arrived at the club because there were not the funds available and when the started to come no disrespect we managed to get better players into the building and we stayed up. Unfortunately Pete got sacked and Daryl McMahon came in and I have enjoyed working with Daryl and his staff and hopefully going forward we will be successful at the football club.

You moved on to became Head of Women’s Goalkeeping at West Ham Women. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any particular highlights and memories?

I think that my time at West Ham Women was a really interesting project to be involved in and it was the first time that I had ever been involved in women’s football so I went into it being a little bit of the unknown and it was a fantastic six months for me.

If it was not for Peter Taylor coming to get me I would probably still be at the club now in all honesty. It is a slightly different situation in terms of working with female goalkeepers and what I had been used to previously and I really enjoyed it and I think that the women’s game is obviously growing all the time and West Ham was a new professional club having previously been an amateur club.

There were lots of exciting things happening at the football club with Jack Sullivan and Matt Beard the manager and it was a very beneficial six months for me and I learned a lot in that short space of time.

Credit: Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club

During your playing career you played for Canvey Island FC. How do you reflect on your playing career?

I joined Canvey Islands’s youth team when I was 13 and I went all the way through the reserves and into the first team squad and I signed for the club when I left school at 16 and I was there from 16 to 19 years of age and unfortunately I did not play very much and I was always a number two number three goalkeeper.

In hindsight it was probably the wrong decision to sign for Canvey Island FC after leaving school but because I had been through the youth system at Canvey Island FC I felt a bit of a loyalty to them and to be fair that club at the time was on it’s way up but unfortunately I came out of it at 19 years of age having not played much first team football and during those development years I did not develop as well as I would have liked to.

For a young goalkeeper in that environment there is a lot of experienced ex professionals in that team and squad at the time and I think mentally I was probably not tough enough to be able to deal with them and those characters and personalties at the time. I was there but I was not really there if you know what I mean I was on the periphery at Canvey Island FC really.

You have accrued a lot of experience as a goalkeeping coach so far in your coaching career. What do you believe are the skills needed for a goalkeeper in the modern game?

I will narrow that down to the level that I am working at because I think the game from the top end to the lower end of the professional games is two different games.

I would say in the National League and League One and League Two you need to be quick in and around your box and you need to be a good shot stopper and more and more you need to be good with your feet.

Credit: Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club

I think you can get away with it a little bit more at the lower end of the professional game in terms of not being good with your feet and if you want to play at the top top level you have to be able to distribute the ball well with your feet and be comfortable with the ball at your feet.

Shot stopping and that type of thing is secondary at the top whereas at the lower end you need to be a little more aggressive with your shot stopping because for example if you are going to Dagenham & Redbridge on a cold Tuesday night in the middle of winter and the pitches are not going to be as good as they are at the top end so you need to be a different style of goalkeeper I would say.

Finally Glen, You are still young as a goalkeeping coach and you have coached abroad in India and the United States. Do you have any particular goals and ambitions that you would ideally like to achieve in future?

I did indeed coach abroad in the United States and India and over the years I would not rule anything out in the future but realistically my main goal is to get back into the Football League and I think that is why Dagenham & Redbridge are such a good fit at the moment because they are very ambitious in terms of getting back into the Football League as am I.

That is what we are really working towards to get back into League Two and hopefully eventually push on into League One but I think at the moment my main goal and aim is to be successful at Dagenham & Redbridge in whatever shape and form that is because the National League is a very competitive league and it is not east to get out of so you have to be working extremely hard day in and day out to get any success. I want to be successful with Dagenham & Redbridge and hopefully playing a part in our success with our aim of getting back into the Football League.

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