McGurn has a broad and impressive CV having flitted about the sports spectrum. He worked with rugby league giants St Helen’s when they were world champions, spent seven years with the IRFU and the senior Irish team and has since spent time working with Bernard Dunne and Armagh GAA among others.
He is not the first Irish Strength and Conditioning coach to turn his talents towards soccer. Former Irish rugby stars Jerry Flannery and Johnny O’Connor are both in the middle of short-term contracts with Arsenal at the moment.
“Michael’s great, he’s enthusiastic,” said Reddan, whose early years with the Irish side traversed the last of McGurn’s. “He has great knowledge, he was great for the squad. You couldn’t say a bad word about him, to be honest.
“Soccer has openly admitted to being behind rugby. You see Jerry Flannery and Johnny O’Connor in Arsenal now with their academy and they’re both doing very well instilling a different type of work ethic into young lads, from talking to them.
“Rugby is definitely about improving players. On Saturday [when Ireland play Samoa], every player you watch, from Ireland anyway, no matter what age they are, they’ll be a kilo or two heavier than last year.
“Probably they’ll be fresh and stronger, fresh and faster and that’s just each individual, not just the effect of newer lads coming into the game. So to get a glimpse of that into soccer...
“Obviously it’s tougher with their season and the amount of games they have, but I do think that kind of idea of improving yourself rather than just maintaining yourself would be very, very helpful in soccer.”