Jermaine Beckford and Aaron Lennon embark on PFA-supported UEFA B coaching badges

The pair, now retired from playing, led successful spells with a number of Premier League and Championship clubs and are back on the grass in a new capacity, heading towards the completion of their UEFA B Licences. 

Beckford made over 150 appearances for Leeds United and remains one of the club’s most prolific scorers to date. Leeds-born Aaron Lennon began his professional career with the Whites and went on to spend 10 years with Tottenham Hotspur, racking up over 250 appearances for the club.

The pair are working with the PFA as part of a group of former professional players preparing for new careers in the game. The cohort is made up exclusively of PFA members and is led by Coach Educator and ex-professional player Mark Jules. 

Lennon has said that coaching came naturally to him towards the latter stages of his career.

“As you get older, you realise that you’ve actually started coaching already. When you reach 28, 29… you’re doing it already – on and off the pitch. But once I got out here and started working with Mark, I knew this was where I wanted to be.”  

The PFA’s coaching team delivers exclusive, subsidised courses to help current and former professional players qualify to work with footballers at every level of the pyramid. 

The UEFA B course is the minimum coaching level required to work with academy level players and acts as a prerequisite for the UEFA A Licence.

Lennon said: “I got in touch with the PFA when I decided I wanted to get back with it, and within a week Mark had called me saying ‘when you’re ready, let’s get down here.’

“He was brilliant for me. That’s what I needed, just someone to say ‘come on get yourself in and let’s get going’. And like I said, the PFA have supported me throughout.”

Beckford is also relishing the new challenge. “I’m at the beginning of another journey” he said. 

“Ultimately, I’m an apprentice and starting all over again. But I’m enjoying it because I get to be back out on the grass.”

Mark Jules, PFA Coach Educator, is leading the duo’s UEFA B course. 

He said: "During the first session, they were a little nervous – that is to be expected. But since the start of the course they’ve been absolutely fantastic.

“A benefit of the PFA-guided UEFA B scheme is that participants will find themselves alongside current and former professional players. That means they’re likely to find a natural chemistry with their fellow students, and the ability to bounce off each other’s shared experiences in the game.”

On working alongside Beckford, Lennon said: “It’s been great having another former professional with me. Jermaine has had a great career, and everyone sees the game differently. We definitely bounce off each other.” 

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