PHIL and James Younghusband were just toddlers when new Philippine Azkals coach Terry Butcher captained the England Men’s Football team.
The stories growing up were enough for the brothers to know how big of a player Butcher was during his heyday.
The last time the pair met him was in the last Suzuki Cup in 2016 in a chance encounter, the next time they’ll meet, it’s as players and coach.
“I remember the first time we met him, it was in the last Suzuki Cup. My brother and I were a bit starstruck,” shared James Younghusband.
“My brother was the brave one to ask for a selfie. Takes me awhile to get the courage. I’m just excited. We’ll keep on learning, I look forward to learning new things from them,” he added.
Phil, the country’s leading scorer with 50 goals, knows his history and understands the gravity of learning from someone who’s competed at a high level for pretty much his whole career.
“I’m very proud. Most of all I’m looking forward to learning from someone who’s played at the highest level, other than the England team that won in 1966, he was part of the team that went the furthest, they went to the semifinals. Unfortunately they lost to East Germany through penalties but he’s played at the highest level against the best players in the world,” said Phil.
“He’ll know what to do when coming up against high-level players. More than anything, I’m excited to learn and be educated, especially someone I grew up watching a bit of.”
James will always associate his head coach around one image – and that’s when Butcher pumped up despite having a gash in the head, with his face and white kit draped with his own blood.
For the older Younghusband, it’s an attitude that they should be carrying moving forward.
“The most famous thing about him is his head, covered in blood and that’s the most famous image of him. I think that’s what’s required as a professional footballer, especially when you play for your country, you need to sweat and bleed for your country,” James said. “That’s what we need for the Asian Cup. If we have that we’ll achieve great things.”
Despite the positivity surrounding the arrival of Butcher, Phil admits that having a new head coach is a double-edged blade.
The national team skipper shared how hard it is during the feeling-out phase where a little bit of uncertainty moves in.
“I think it’s not knowing, you wonder what the coach is thinking about before he starts. Obviously you want to impress him, show him how good of a player you are. Does he think I’m a good player? Does he know I’m a good player? Does he know the things that I’ve done well in the past?” Younghusband said.
But there’s no doubt that the chance to start anew overcomes any fear or uncertainty.
“A little bit of doubt can creep in, but it can work the other way as well. This is a fresh new start, I can show the new coach how good of a player I am,” Phil concluded.