Fabian eyes coaching future

IPSWICH Town's popular defender Fabian Wilnis today revealed he is eyeing a future in coaching.He has changed his mind after always stating that he would not stay in football once his playing days were over.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's popular defender Fabian Wilnis today revealed he is eyeing a future in coaching.

He has changed his mind after always stating that he would not stay in football once his playing days were over.

The 37-year-old Dutch defender, who has made 325 Blues appearances since arriving at Portman Road from De Graafschap in 1999, is however not writing off his playing days.

Wilnis has not featured recently in manager Jim Magilton's first team squads and his latest one-year contract runs out in the summer.

“I will be in the dug-out alongside Steve Greaves for Monday's home reserve game against Northampton,” said Wilnis today.

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“Whether that is as a coach or player coach remains to be seen. I still see myself as a player.”

Wilnis, who has a number of interests outside football, has always stressed that he would pursue other fields once he hung up his boots.

So why a change of heart?

“I did not realise how much satisfaction I would get out of coaching,” he said. “Working with young players at the club has proved extremely eye opening. I love it.

“I have had 20 years in the game. Why throw away all that experience?

“The plan is that I will be working with the Under-16 side, although this has not started yet, and in the summer I plan to gain official coaching qualifications.

“I have always been ambitious, and one day I could become a manager.

“But unlike Jim Magilton I see myself starting slowly and possibly working up.”

Wilnis has made no hard and fast plans about his future but realises that his playing days are coming to an end.

He added: “I have so much experience and knowledge I can put back into the game.

“I am enjoying passing this on, and am already looking at the game from a different, more overall, perspective.

“But who knows where I will be in three years time?

“I have a number of properties, and could go into property developing.

“Public relations is another field I have an interest in. And becoming an agent is another option I have.”

He has certainly not ruled out a new Ipswich playing contract in the summer, but Wilnis acted as coach beside Greaves in the reserve 4-2 victory at Grays last week.

Wilnis has made 14 appearances this campaign, and has captained the team in Jason De Vos' absence including the FA Cup match against Portsmouth last month.

With Richard Naylor now back to fitness after 12 months of injury and making a big impression in Tuesday's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Tuesday - plus the influx of five newcomers during the transfer window - Wilnis' chances of a first team place are now reduced.

It remains to be seen whether Blues fans have seen the last of him in the first team.

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