By Giuseppe Muro
Tony Roberts admits the opportunity to take up a full-time coaching role at Arsenal was one he could not turn down after calling time on his illustrious 25-year playing career.
The 41-year-old, who celebrates his 42nd birthday on Thursday, recently hung up his gloves to become a full-time goalkeeping coach at the Club, where he will work alongside Gerry Peyton.
Roberts joined the first-team backroom staff last season, having spent two years with the Academy, fitting the role around his playing commitments with Dagenham and Redbridge, where he is the record appearance maker with over 400 games.
But, after 11 memorable years at the East London club, the former Wales international says the chance to go full-time this summer was one he had to take.
“I didn’t need too much convincing, it’s Arsenal,” he told Arsenal.com. “When they ask you to go full-time you don’t think about it, it’s something that you have got to do.
“I’ve had a great career and have been going for 25 years. I was going to sign another year for Dagenham but when the opportunity arose to go full-time, I had to do it.
“It had been coming. Obviously, I wanted to play as long as I could but I had to hang up my gloves one day and now was a good time.”
Roberts will assist Peyton with the Club’s senior keepers as well as continuing to work closely with Neil Banfield and the Reserves.
“We’ve got six or seven goalkeepers that we look after and obviously Gerry can’t do it all on his own. We sit down with them and say what we expect from the goalkeepers at Arsenal.
“I’ve been working with Wojciech [Szczesny] and James [Shea] for a number of years and it seems to working.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 3 Aug 2011