Former Midfielder Relishing RoleSimon Wiles says he's relishing his role with the Blackpool Academy and progressing as a coach with every session he takes.
The 31-year-old was promoted to Lead Youth Development Phase Coach last summer and currently oversees the development of the under-13s, right up to the under-16s.
"I'm really enjoying it, I've upped my role this season and it's great seeing the lads progress," he told the official website. "It's great listening to the likes of Ciaran Donnelly, John Murphy and Gavin McCann because I'm also learning a lot from them and getting the opportunity to do some coaching with the youth team. Ciaran brought me back to the club full-time and I'm really grateful for that."
Wiles, who made 31 league appearances for the club, was forced to pack the game in due to a succession of injuries, however the other side of the football has given him a new lease of life.
"I'm frustrated by the seven major injuries to my knee that stopped my career from taking off, it was always stop-start," he admitted. "That was tough to take on the playing side of things, but I love football and I love Blackpool. I'm now in a position where I'm going on my A Licence later this month."
Speaking from experience, his knowledge of dealing with major injury is something that he feels can be a big asset in helping youngsters in similar situations.
"There's some lads here that have been out for four or five months with hip injuries and knee injuries and I always feel that I'm in a position to help. I did my cruciate for the first time at 16 and I was out for 15 months. I don't want to see them down and will always try and keep their spirits up and do sessions with them to take their minds off things."
This week Wiles has had his group of Academy players on the pitch at Bloomfield Road, benefiting from matches against local sides.
"We managed to get two good fixtures, with the 13s and 14s playing Blackburn Rovers and the 15s and 16s playing Bolton Wanderers. It's been a great experience and has allowed the lads to play at Bloomfield Road. We've still got some work to do but the players will have a good rest in July and then come back flying."