Newcastle United academy coach Natalie Henderson has urged more women to be “brave” and apply for roles in the men’s game ahead of International Women’s Day.
Henderson is phase leader for the U14 team at Newcastle and is the only female coach working in a Premier League academy.
“It’s nice when people say that I’m a trailblazer,” Henderson told Sky Sports News.
“I like that, but I don’t see myself as one. To me, I’m just a football coach and I’m just doing what I love, really.”
Henderson says she is treated the same as her male colleagues by the youngsters in the academy.
“If you’re a good coach then you’re a good coach regardless of whether you’re male, female, black, white. A coach is a coach,” she said.
“If you ask the boys, they would say the same thing really. They listen to me and pay attention to me. It’s completely normal for all of us.”
Newcastle academy manager Joe Joyce says Henderson has become a valued member of his staff.
“The caring attitude that she showed with the players was something that I think was outstanding at interview and was something we wanted in the building,” he said.
“In the time that she’s been here she’s not just made me think, but other members of staff think about their role, about what we do with these young players and how we can do it better.”
Henderson admits she initially doubted coaching in the men’s game was possible but is now urging more female coaches to follow in her footsteps.
“They shouldn’t think because it’s the men’s game that they shouldn’t apply or they’ve got no chance,” she said.
“We need women that are going to step forward, be brave, ask questions and put themselves forward.”
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