Steve Guppy

Guppy's Wearside delight

by Stuart Vose

Coach relishing link-up with mentor O'Neill.

Steve Guppy is loving life on Wearside having been given the opportunity to work with mentor Martin O’Neill once more.

Guppy joined as a full-time member of O’Neill’s backroom staff before the start of the season, providing coaching support to the manager and assistant Steve Walford.

The former winger was one of countless players to benefit from O’Neill’s guiding hand as a player and he’s not surprised to see the likes of Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher coming in to work with the Northern Irishman.

“There are so many things – his will to win and ability to inspire confidence, which is not an easy thing,” said Guppy, who was a key player under O'Neill at Leicester City and Celtic.

“Sometimes when you get praised by someone it doesn’t feel quite as much as when someone else does it. It’s hard to explain.

“The manager is great at instilling confidence – look at the players he’s brought through in the past and got the best out of.

“I think that played a big part in attracting players like Adam Johnson to the club.”

Guppy previously had a successful spell coaching in the US, first with Rochester Rhinos and then with MLS side Colorado Rapids.

Working alongside good friend and current Stevenage boss Gary Smith, Guppy helped guide the Rapids to an MLS Cup win in 2010.

O’Neill was watching in the background and Guppy jumped at the chance to rejoin his former boss after returning to England.

“I’m very lucky to have played for the manager for large chunks of my career,” he said.

“I was coaching in the States and the manager spent a lot of time watching our games, especially when we made the play-offs and the momentum started to grow.

“When that came to an end I moved back to the UK and he rang me to ask if I’d like to come in at Sunderland.

“I’m really pleased to be full-time here now.

“Working with Steve Walford will be great for my development – he is a great coach who has seen it all. I’m really excited about that.”

Guppy’s move saw him reunite with his former mentor years after the pair played key roles in one of the most successful periods of Leicester’s history.

“Unfortunately it was a long time ago now but those four or five years were a fabulous experience and something I’ll always remember,” he recalled.

“It was an incredible period. Martin brought the team up from Division One and not only did they stay up, they finished in the top ten every year and reached three major cup finals, winning two of them.

“When you think what he has achieved, it’s just incredible.”