Impact’s Head of Therapy and Rehabilitation to help Scottish national team
A new name appeared in the recent wave of international call-ups at the Montreal Impact: the Head of Therapy and Rehabilitation, Richard Collinge, received a call from Malky Mackay, Scotland’s interim manager, with whom he worked as the Head of performance at Cardiff City, in the Premier League, for the upcoming friendly against the Netherlands, on Thursday, November 9.
Now, the call up is something worth of pride; still, Collinge, as an Englishman, crosses the divide to join the Scotland national team back room. For the record, England and Scotland played against one another for the very first international fixture in football, back in 1872; the foes would go on to play 113 more times.
“When you represent any country, you are proud to reach that level. That’s the gold standard, at least in terms of medical and physiotherapy,” said Richard Collinge. “It is good recognition for me, but also for the work we do at the Impact, to step into an international role. It will be a great opportunity and great experience. I look forward to helping Scotland in their friendly against Holland.”
The initial contact was made by Mackay when he was informed he would get the caretaker job, but Collinge also has many other connections with various members of the Scottish team and technical staff.
“I know some of the players who have been called up to the squad through work that I have done in the Premier League and the Championship. I know the team doctor, who has been working with the Scottish FA for a long time, and Glasgow Rangers’ Head of Analysis who has been called up and with whom I have been in communication. I also know the assistant coach from my time with Wigan Athletic.”
The work done in an international setup is very different than at a club: players come in only for a few days every couple of months and usually play two games in the span of five days. This time around, Scotland only has a friendly against the Netherlands scheduled for Thursday, November 9. How can the physical coaches optimally prepare players with such little time?
“We will meet in Edinburgh on Sunday. Monday will be recovery for players who have played on the weekend with their clubs and there will be regular training for some who need more minutes,” explained Collinge. “We will move to Aberdeen on Wednesday, as we play there on Thursday. After the game, we will assess the players before they leave to go back to their club. We will have a lot of networking and communication to do beforehand with their clubs to see who is fit to come to the camp, and after the game to provide feedback to the clubs so that they are ready for the games on the following weekend. It will be a busy and intense five days for sure!”
This will be Collinge’s first international experience. Is there any chance he will rake in thousands of loyalty points from an airline in the coming months?
“It will be a short-term venture to start, but you never know what can happen. Mackay is there as interim manager, but his usual job is Performance Director to oversee development of young players in the Scottish national team setup,” continued Collinge. “I want to go there to do the job to the best of my capacities and represent the Montreal Impact. I am kind of going on a fact-finding mission as well. It is the first time I will work in international football. I want to see what the standards are like for hotels, food, recovery strategies. I want to bring back information to Montreal, to see what options we can add.”