Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I)?

Extroverts are naturally more sociable, existing among people and the world around them. Introverts start further back, inside their own heads with concepts and ideas. But how do these opposite perspectives apply in the world of football management? Here's a breakdown of six fundamental categories...

Media Interaction

Extroverts talk first and think later, correcting themselves as they go. They say more than is really necessary and don’t always answer the specific question that's been asked. They are more inclined to say something unwittingly controversial because they don’t filter their thoughts or opinions before verbalising them. Their body language also tends to be more demonstrative.

Introverts give more considered answers. They think before they speak. The choice and selection of words is important to them. The old adage 'you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression' sums up introverts. They often speak quieter, in more hushed tones and convey less emotion. If they say something controversial, it is usually deliberate.

Match analysis

Extroverts research matches extensively. They take on board information from a wide range of resources and welcome the opinions of a wide range of people. They may even consult local media or supporters websites in order to build a complete picture of their own team’s performances, or the strengths and weaknesses of forthcoming opponents.

Introverts research intensively. They will retreat into their private space and reflect on their personal perceptions, trusting their own judgements and drawing their own conclusions more readily. Any consultation will usually happen with a small band of close associates whom they value most, and place great faith and trust.

Match Preparation

Extroverts tend to be much more involved with the players on a day to day basis. They participate in training sessions more often than introverts and invariably develop a more intimate working relationship with players. They are less likely to exude their authority at all times, preferring to be 'one of the lads' in moments of lesser significance.

Introverts are less immersed and more peripheral. Their presence at the training ground may be constant but they are more inclined to issue instructions or impart knowledge at crucial moments, then take a step back and keep a watching brief. Too much interaction with the players can be draining and weaken their authority.

Tactical outlook

Extroverts like everything out in the open, so they are usually comfortable sharing details on team selections and tactics - at least after a match has been played, although sometimes before. They are more concerned with people than ideas or concepts, so tend to pick a system based on the players available rather than the other way around.

Introverts can be cagey when talking about team selection or tactics, as though concerned they might be giving easy secrets away to future opponents. They spend more time inside their own heads, exploring the world of ideas, so the players are more likely to be an afterthought when deciding on systems and formations.

Player Recruitment

Extroverts are comfortable with big squads and are less inclined to be unsettled by having more players than they really need. They tend to have an extensive contacts book (managers, agents, etc) and keep their ear to the ground for potential transfer opportunities. When necessary, they can easily find a player and get deal over the line at short notice.

Introverts prefer to work intimately with smaller groups. More players means more interaction, and keeping everybody onside can be draining. They also tend to be more receptive to the idea of working closely with a director of football who does the leg work on transfer business, so long as they are consulted and allowed input on potential targets.


Extroverts are more approachable and tend to have an open dialogue with most players but they generally do more talking than listening. As such, they may not always recognise or correct a problem that exists with a particular player, even when it has been explicitly expressed.

Introverts keep a bit more distance and like to keep players guessing about the current state of play, regarding their futures or position in the team. However, when approached, they do make better listeners, even if they don’t necessarily offer immediate solutions to a ease a players’ concerns.

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Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander
(Salford City)
12th October
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