After dropping out of Norwich’s reserve team at the young age of 20, Martyn Pert went on to pursue his accountancy and management degree from the prestigious Loughborough University, a well-known Sports Varsity located in the East Midlands.
Currently, he has joined his colleague Kieran McKenna as an associate after leaving Old Trafford for Portman Road, where they will pursue a new adventure to lead a struggling Ipswich side towards accomplishing meaningful goals in terms of facilities, fitness, conditioning, analytics, and other unexplored areas.
Manchester United is finalizing the appointment of Ewan Sharp from Lokomotiv Moscow at the time of writing and is known to be a confidant of Rangnick, ever since the two met up at New York Red Bulls. But before verifying Ewan’s background(separate piece), I want to make a few things clear about Pert because the club is losing a big asset from their coaching department.
Let me show you why.
Coach with a multilingual tongue
Martyn Pert did his Pro-license examinations with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2010. During those days, Pert was known to be versatile with various languages such as English, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic.
He made good use of his time during vacations as well as leisure periods to learn new languages and improve his CV. As a native of Norwich, he was inspired by his tutor to do this exercise of introducing to new languages while traveling. This way, flew into Roatan in Honduras, traveled a bit, and then did three months learning Spanish in Guatemala
His aptitude to speak multiple languages helped players like Edinson Cavani to communicate instructions and adapt to surroundings at the Carrington complex. This helped in extending Cavani’s contract for a further year. Along with that, he helped Fred understand certain training routines and also gave guidance in English lessons.
This trait shows you the reason why he was an excellent man-manager and players at the club rated him highly.
Disciple of Marcelo Bielsa and Professor Ortega
When it comes to tactical philosophies, Pert was a listener of current Leeds United Head-Coach Marcelo Bielsa and Diego Simeone’s assistant at Atletico Madrid, Oscar Ortega a.k.a Professor. In fact, he worked with Bielsa for a while and even visited the Argentine’s home at Rosario.
Pert had first visited Bielsa in November while working with Athletic Bilbao and observed the Argentine’s run practices. He wrote match reports for Marcelo Bielsa to help the Argentine identify players for Bilbao’s recruitment and was impressed after making analytical materials using Chile’s World Cup campaign in 2010.
Under Bielsa, Pert learned a few interesting things about the man-to-man marking system and learned more about its implementations.
Under Ortega, Pert witnessed the importance of training in football that dealt with physical conditioning. Most of the drills were outside the syllabus but worked well when recovering for fitness as a whole. This helped during his spell as a conditioning coach at Cardiff.
Pert believed in Ortega’s training methodology as it involved high intensity and an incredible amount of workload in each training session. This helped in ensuring the right calorific values while ensuring the energy system within the squad.
Interdisciplinary experiences and coaching Shaquille O’Neal
Pert has worked in various departments across football whether it is fitness or analytics. Moreover, his profile became popular among the big clubs such as Ajax, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich when he started to go after challenges abroad especially into other contact sports like Basketball.
He interned for 12 months under Bill Foran, the strength and conditioning coach at NBA based club, Miami Heat. He had a good conversation with players in the squad especially Shaq O’Neal, the basketball legend, and joined Pat Riley to help with their fitness program at the club’s base.
This experience helped Pert to know more about relationships between player and coach at how to earn respect with the work younger coaches demand from players at the club. Through that journey, he managed to attend a South American tour with the squad as part of season breaks and recovery programs.
Analytics at MUFC while training Bruno and Pogba
Along with great communication, Martyn Pert used to be good with numbers which helped in laying foundations for a new analytics team headed currently by a Ph.D. scholar from Cambridge University. Pert mostly sat in a special area close to the pressbox to analyze the team’s shape and collect feasible event data via video for improving performances.
He was a popular figure among players like Fred, Bruno, and Pogba whom he trains regularly to keep themselves match fit in tight schedules which might cause issues related to fatigue and tiredness. He was instrumental in helping Pogba obtain a place in a fitness program at Miami Heat as part of 2021 season preparations which helped the player win a trophy for France at the Nations League and benefited him in returning back early for pre-season before the Leeds game in good shape.
With his exit, how can Manchester United fill this void?
The major issue lies in recruiting the right person who can run several errands as Pert did. Candidates might be available for the job but might not help Ralf Rangnick now as it is difficult to obtain one mid-season.
United will have to recruit 2 more coaches to fill the hole left by Pert’s exit to Ipswich but the task isn’t impossible.
With Rangnick’s appointment, we will see new recruits who worked under him before in similar roles but getting one who could outperform Pert’s contribution would be a Himalayan task for Murtough and co. to achieve in a short period.