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Lee Grant making a name for himself as a striker coach

by Colm Murphy

Former Manchester United keeper Lee Grant has switched sides and been making a name for himself as a striker coach.

The 40 year old is currently working under another former United man in Kieran McKenna at promotion-chasing Ipswich Town.

Working as a first team coach, Grant has made the unusual move away from stopping goals to using his knowledge to beat keepers, helping Ipswich to 72 goals in the league this season, the second most across the leagues in England.

Speaking with The Telegraph, Grant feels his 22 year long playing career as a keeper can now provide insight to strikers on how to score goals, saying “across 20 odd years of being in goal and conceding so many goals, I can remember so many so vividly. They are etched into my mind and psyche.”

“I use that to help guide the forward players occasionally, for the sorts of outcomes that no goalkeeper would like.”

Grant looks back on what he feared most between the sticks and has been looking to implement it in training for Ipswich’s forwards.

“I like it when our strikers are dictating to the goalkeepers. I enjoy it when we’re the ones leading the dance. If I think back to myself between the sticks, that was probably where I felt most vulnerable, when a striker had that real clarity about what they were trying to achieve and were able to do it with speed and precision.”

The former keeper believes his success is due to his career as a keeper and that other keepers can follow his path. Grant said “I’d love nothing more than for more goalkeepers to really see that they’ve got lots to offer the game. The traits that you have in that position, you tend to be a good leader and vocal. You spend a lot of time really thinking about the game, I know I thought about it incessantly.”

Once seen as a bit of a meme as United’s third choice keeper, Grant’s ability to adapt to a coaching role comes as no surprise after he showed his versatility with a brief cameo as a fourth official in United’s 3-1 win over Newcastle in 2021.

Speaking last month with the East Anglian Daily Times, Grant revealed his desire to eventually step up into a managerial role saying “I set out with the goal of being a manager some years ago, so being here at Ipswich is a massively positive step on that journey.”

The former keeper was also keen to praise McKenna adding “when I’ll be ready for it I don’t know, but right now I feel I’m on the right trajectory working under a massively talented and highly regarded young coach who blows my mind on a daily basis.”

The duo, along with Martyn Pert, all made the move from United to Ipswich midway through last season and have led a massive turn around in the Tractor Boys.

Currently sitting in third place, three points off automatic promotion, Ipswich are currently the hottest team in League One with six wins in a row. And with nine matches remaining, Grant and McKenna will be looking to secure the automatic spot and avoid the dreaded play-offs.

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