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Campbell not fazed by starting management at the bottom

Campbell not fazed by starting management at the bottom
© Reuters
The former England defender takes over at Macclesfield who are 92nd in the Football League.

Sol Campbell has no complaints about starting his management career at the very bottom of the Football League with Macclesfield.

The former England, Tottenham and Arsenal defender has endured a long wait for an opportunity to come his way in management, and now that it has arrived, it looks as hard as they come, with the Silkmen bottom of League Two and four points adrift of safety.

In contrast, Campbell has seen former team-mates for club and country Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Thierry Henry get high-profile jobs with Derby, Rangers and Monaco respectively, but he insisted Macclesfield is the right place for him.

Sol Campbell is starting at the bottom of League Two
Sol Campbell is starting at the bottom of League Two (Simon Cooper/PA)

"You have to start somewhere," Campbell said. "I am prepared to start anywhere. The opportunity came up and there was no messing about. It was very clean. It was one agent and the owner, very simple and I like that, a little bit old school really.

"You've got to take your opportunities and I felt it was the right time. Not taking this and maybe waiting another year – I can't see the point."

He has certainly not arrived with any lack of confidence, telling Macclesfield fans who were worried about his lack of experience: "You've got an international footballer who has been one of the best footballers in the world coming to your club."

Campbell has spoken about moving into management pretty much since he first hung up his boots in 2012, but he has endured a frustrating wait during which time he spoke out about the lack of opportunities in management for aspiring Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) coaches.

Campbell recently coached in the England Under-21 setup
Campbell recently coached in the England Under-21 setup (Nick Potts/PA)

The 44-year-old estimated he had applied for or discussed 15 jobs before getting the call from Macclesfield.

"I have been abroad, I have been at home," he said. "I have even gone 10 hours away for an interview. I have done a lot of miles. I probably should be an ambassador for BA with the amount of air miles I have done."

Campbell built up his experience by working as an assistant for Trinidad and Tobago last year, and more recently spending 10 days with England Under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd – during which time Macclesfield picked up the phone.

Campbell's appointment makes him the eighth BAME coach to be working in England's top four divisions, and he hopes a successful stint can help increase those numbers to a point where the conversation is no longer necessary.

Campbell had a high-profile playing career
Campbell had a high-profile playing career (Nick Potts/PA)

"As long as I do a good job and do it professionally, as long as people see the quality, and see me, who I really am, I think that's all you can do in football," he said.

"I think in the end hopefully football wins and people start looking at all scenarios. In the end I just want to become a manager, forget whatever colour you are, that's the way it should be really."

Rebuilding Macclesfield promises to be a tough job, and Campbell said his phone has been busy as he looks to use contacts higher up the divisions to strengthen the squad.

There have been signs of optimism with back-to-back wins over Yeovil and Exeter in the past week – the latter a match Campbell was involved in behind the scenes.

Campbell had a brief spell with Notts County
Campbell had a brief spell with Notts County (PA)

It is not quite Campbell's first taste of League Two football as he played one match for Notts County in 2009 during an ill-fated spell at the club which lasted less than a week. But he insisted he knew his way around the game at this level.

"I think for me, you've got to get the basics right," he said. "Defend right, score right, pass the ball well, team spirit. For me, the difference between the Premier League and League Two is margins maybe decision-making and things like that.

"It's not a shock for me to be here. I've started as a street footballer, I quite like the rough and ready game. Yes, the finances are slightly different but you get on with it."

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