Jim McGuinness , . . off to China
Donegal's All-Ireland winning player and manager, Jim McGuinness, is to take up a new appointment in his soccer manager development.
He is taking up a role as assistant manager to Roger Schmidt at Beijing Sinobo Guoan.
It is reported by Keith Duggan in the Irish Times that he has accepted a role of assistant coach under the former Bayer Leverkusen coach Schmidt.
He was offered the post by Roger Schmidt, the former Beyer Leverkusen manager who was announced as Beijing’s new manager early in June. McGuinness, who has been part of the coaching staff at Glasgow Celtic since 2012, will travel to Beijing on Saturday to take up his new role on Monday.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” he said. “It’s a level up for me and a great honour to be asked. Roger is a really prestigious European coach and just to be part of his management team is a great privilege. I also feel that it’s great timing in terms of taking the next step forward in my own coaching career.
“In terms of Celtic, every decision that was made was with their knowledge. Dermot Desmond, in particular, was implicit in any decision made. And I’d like to think that the umbilical cord won’t be cut. Everyone in the club has been hugely supportive and hopefully I will return there someday as a better coach.”
He has agreed a two-and-a-half year contract with Beijing, which is the period for which Schmidt has agreed terms. The offer came out of the blue but McGuinness had met with the German on several occasions over the past two years after being invited to Leverkusen by one of the club psychologists he met in Bilbao two summers ago.
McGuinness was offered a role with Celtic in 2012. He originally worked as a psychology coach but was coaching Celtic’s under-20 team this season. He has retained his association with Gaelic games through his work as a championship analyst, including a weekly column with The Irish Times which he intends to continue throughout this year’s championship.
“It is kind of surreal,” he said of this latest appointment. “But it does feel like part of that original journey with Donegal because anything that has happened was borne out of that energy that started with the under-21s. And there is no separation there.
“And I am incredibly thankful for that. In fact, one of the reasons that this was an easy decision for me is that Beijing wear green and gold and the number 1992 is on their club crest. So some stars have to be aligning there.”