Calderwood so impressed by 'born leader' Max Dyche

'What we have probably got to do is to not keep talking about his dad, and start talking about him'

By Jeremy Casey
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:31 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:32 pm
Max Dyche.
Max Dyche.

There are few people better placed than Colin Calderwood to assess exactly how good a player Cobblers teenager Max Dyche is and can become.

A top class international central defender himself, Calderwood was tasked with marking Ronaldo when Scotland played Brazil in the opening game of the 1998 World Cup in France. Scotland lost 2-1 - but the legendary striker didn't score.

Calderwood ended up with 36 caps for his country, and also played close to 200 Premier League matches for Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa as well as hundreds of games for the likes of Mansfield Town, Swindon Town and Nottingham Forest.

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He has managed the clubs including Cobblers, Forest and Hibernian, and been assistant boss at a clutch of other teams, such as Newcastle United, Villa and Blackpool.

The 56-year-old has a wealth of experience and has played and worked with a LOT of players, and he has been impressed by young Dyche, who made his first home EFL start for the Cobblers in Saturday's 1-0 win over Leyton Orient.

Thrown in at the deep end to play at the last minute as Jon Guthrie was absent due to his wife going into labour, Dyche was a key component in an outstanding defensive performance.

The 18-year-old is of course following in the footsteps of his dad Sean Dyche, who enjoyed a long playing career with Chesterfield, Bristol City, Millwall and Watford, before seeing out his last couple of years at the Cobblers.

He is now the manager of Premier League Burnley.

Dyche Snr was actually signed for his Town stint by Calderwood, so the current Cobblers assistant boss has seen both players at close quarters and is well placed to compare the two.

"I think they have very similar traits," said Calderwood. "Although at the minute, Sean's left foot is way better than Max's... but Sean was 34, 35 when he came here, so Max has a few years to improve on that!"

That is where the direct comparisons end though, with Calderwood instead choosing to focus on what Dyche Jnr is all about.

"Max is a good example to all young players, he has persevered and obviously his name brings a badge with it, and means there is a little spotlight on him," he said.

"He is very capable of handling the spotlight of that name though.

"Also, he was thrust into the game on Saturday and was able to manage his emotions and cope with the situation brilliantly well.

"He is also tough. For all the skill, pace and technique that you have, you have to have a toughness about you.

"Max has an abundance of all the other things, but he stands out as a strong character and that is going to take him a long way."

And he added: "Max is a born leader, he organises the rest of the young ones in terms of getting the stuff in after training.

"There is a lot to like about him, his personality is as grounded as his dad's, but what we have probably got to do is to not keep talking about his dad, and start talking about him.

"It is important that he has more games and plays as well, and improves, from Saturday."