Ex-accie is on target
Allan’s key England role
Harry Kane has been a key player in England’s impressive World Cup run — and a lot of the Tottenham Hotspur striker’s success is down to a former Hamilton Accies player.
Scottish striking coach Allan Russell is in charge of the leading scorer in Russia and the rest of the Three Lions’ frontline. And he has already inspired them to make the most of set-pieces, as seen in England’s thumping 6-1 win over Panama in the group stages and the 2-0 victory against Sweden in the quarterfinals. Russell played more than 60 games for Accies from 1999-2003, before he agreed a release and signed for St Mirren. Spells in England with Macclesfield, Mansfield Town and Forest Green Rovers followed, before Russell headed to the US.
He now owns his own training company called Superior Striker and claims to be the world’s number one striking coach.
Russell (37) is working with England on a freelance basis and Kane said: “Allan does finishing sessions with us, tells us about opposition defenders, goalkeepers, and tells us maybe where we can exploit a weakness.
“We are all top players, so he is not running through technique or telling us how to strike a ball.
“It’s just little stuff to maybe give us an edge.
“He does our attacking set plays, which are going pretty well so far, and we do a lot of work on it in training.
“Every little helps — particularly the little details at this level in a World Cup.”
And Kane’s sentiments were echoed by Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard (below), who believes Russell’s influence has paid dividends.
He added: “After training, Allan goes through different plays in and around the box. It’s all about finishing.
“It is great to have him as a coach and we practise with him.
“He has been with us for a while and we are used to him. He has played an important role.”
That’s not the only involvement that Lanarkshire has in World Cup matches that are taking place in Russia this weekend.
Two of the four teams involved in either the final or the third/fourth place play-off feature players and assistant managers who have plied their trade for Hamilton Accies and Motherwell.
Russell has been helping England’s campaign, but Belgium have a doublewhammy, with former Motherwell defensive midfielder Roberto Martinez as manager, and ex-hamilton Accies striker Graeme Jones as assistant.
Martinez (44) was at Fir Park from 200102, but had his contract terminated when the Steelmen went into administration.
Spaniard Martinez went back down to England for a brief spell at Walsall, but then joined Swansea.
A turbulent relationship with manager Kenny Jacket saw him move to Chester for a season before replacing Jacket as Swansea manager in 2007.
Graeme Jones (48) joined Hamilton in 2005 and played for a season, before injury ended his career and he became assistant to then-manager Billy
Reid. Martinez took Jones to Swansea in 2007, and he has been with him in managerial spells Wigan and Everton.
Jones and Martinez were sacked at Everton in May 2016, but the Spaniard got the Belgium job in August of that year, and took Jones with him, where he was joined on the backroom team by France and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry for the World Cup. at