Jimmy Walker is relishing the challenge of stepping into the assistant manager role with West Ham United Women.
The former Hammers’ goalkeeper has been a part of Paul Konchesky’s coaching set-up for the 2022/23 season and has moved into the role of No2 in November following the departure of Edu Rubio.
Walker, who has plenty of coaching experience having worked with Danny and Nicky Cowley at Lincoln City, as well in a hatful of coaching roles at Peterborough United, Sunderland, Ipswich Town – and West Ham United U18s as a goalkeeping consultant – is excited to bring his experience to West Ham United Women.
Now is an exciting time to work in the Women’s game following the success of England at last summer’s UEFA Women’s European Championships, Walker told whufc.com.
And the former shot-stopper wants to use his experience to help West Ham Women – who have four wins from eight games and sit eighth in the Barclay's Women’s Super League – to continue their positive start to the 2022/23 campaign.
I’m really pleased and delighted to have this opportunity.
I’ve loved being around the team this year [as a goalkeeping coach]. It is great to come back and work at Chadwell Heath, where it all started for me with the Academy boys.
Konch asked if I'd help him out this season and I've really enjoyed working with the team.
I've got a tight relationship with Konch anyway, playing with him back in the day.
Konch has turned into a really good manager. I really enjoyed the environment here. We have a great standard of players - there's some real quality. But they all want to do well too and listen well.
I've said to the team, I'm here to help you.
If I can pass on anything and get you to be the best that you can be in your career then that's success for me. If you all work hard, we will get more success on the pitch too - as well as individually.
The quality of the women’s game was clear at the Euros last summer.
I watched a lot of England, and the standard was excellent. I feel like the girls are sort of trailblazing now. It's a great time to work in the women’s game as it's exploding everywhere in a minute. It's getting bigger and bigger around the world. We have got a real opportunity on the back of the Euros to push the game forward for future generations. And to be a part of that was really something that excited me.
When I was a player, I'd laugh and joke - but when it was time to work, it was time to work.
And that work ethic is what you need to get to the highest level you can reach as a player. You need to be on it. 100%. I have taken that attitude into coaching over the last ten or 12 years now. So, I've learned a lot from some top-quality people.
I love being jolly around the place, I think it creates a bit of positivity as well.
I think that's the best way to work. You have to create that balance though. It was nice in my first session with the team. I think the girls sort of saw that jolly side of it. It's nice before we start - we are chatting about it etc - but when we start training, we are on it. And it’s that balance, I will try and bring.
I think I can add value to West Ham Women’s set-up.
Hopefully, my involvement helps the players, Konch and the team too. I'm looking forward to the challenges this role will bring and facing the challenges that arise because I'm sure they'll be some that crop up that I've not thought about. I'm really looking forward to working through those challenges with the girls.
Being Konch's assistant manager is something that has appealed to me for a long while.
I sort of touched on the role of assistant manager at Lincoln a little bit, with Danny and Nicky Cowley. It was great, and something I really liked doing.
It is a step up from just being the goalkeeping coach. When you are just the goalie coach, you never quite get that same involvement. You're desperate to give your ideas, so hopefully, I’ll be able to contribute in that way as an assistant manager because me and Konch have already shown we work really well together.