Osian Colour Scene . . . Roberts Eyes Busy Summer Ahead After Masterminding Como Triumph

COMO, ITALY - MAY 10: Cesc Fabregas and Osian Robert of Como celebrate the teams' promotion to serie A at the end of the Serie B match between Como 1907 and Cosenza Calcio at Stadio G. Sinigaglia on May 10, 2024 in Como, Italy. (Photo by Image Photo Agency/Getty Images)

Osian Colour Scene . . . Roberts Eyes Busy Summer Ahead After Masterminding Como Triumph

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By Graham Thomas

Welsh coaching guru Osian Roberts will spend this summer watching the seeds he has planted across Europe come into full bloom.

The man who shaped the coaching careers of Cesc Fabregas, Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry has proven he is no mere blackboard technician by guiding Italian club Como into Serie A.

Roberts’ five-month stint as hands-on head coach on the banks of Lake Como was a massive success as he returned the club to the top flight after an absence of 21 years.

Having come in as coach on Henry’s recommendation to allow former Arsenal star Fabregas to gain his badges, Roberts will now move upstairs to become director of development.

That might give him time to reflect on the efforts of another of his ex-pupils – current Gunners boss Arteta – as well as the progress of England pair Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi, who Roberts coached during his time at Crystal Palace.

“I have worked as technical director with Wales and Morocco, as hands-on manager of age group teams, as assistant coach with Wales and Crystal Palace, and the truth is I really enjoy all three roles,” says the 58-year-old.

“In fact, I’d like to continue to do all three because it is all about football and what I have learned is that coaching and management works far better when the structure is horizontal, with everything aligned, rather than a vertical hierarchy.”

That will translate next season into Fabregas being the man in the dug-out when Como take on the likes of Juventus and the Milan giants, but Roberts working closely with the Spaniard behind the scenes.

“I cannot wait to see this club in Serie A because I live right in the city and so I’ve seen what this means to people – fans who have followed the club for 40 years, but who have seen dark times for the past two decades.

“This success means everything to them. That’s the power of football.”

Title success was something that just eluded Arteta this season, but Roberts reckons his former graduate of the renowned FA of Wales coaching course can go one better next season and become a Premier League winning manager.

“I think people will look back on this era and recognise it was one of those rare times when one club was dominant, almost to the point of perfection,” says Roberts of Manchester City under Pep Guardiola.

“Mikel did a fantastic job, but they were not as near perfection and those very fine margins proved to be the difference.

“But I think he will look at this season and think about small things he might have done differently. He will make those adjustments and I see no reason why Arsenal can’t win the title next season.”

With Wales having failed to qualify for the Euros, Roberts will not quite be able to bring himself to cheer for England – but he will be rooting for his old Palace youngsters Eze and Guehi.

“Both are very impressive young men, who are passionate about developing themselves, who just happen to be superb footballers.

“Eze would always have his head down reading the Bible, whenever we travelled away on a trip and Guehi is the son of a pastor, so we would often have conversations about belief and the important things in life.

“They are both outstanding players and first rate young men and they could both make a big impact at the Euros this summer.”

Osian Roberts Is The Welsh King Of Como . . . And Is Guiding Them Towards Italy’s Best

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