Younghusbands set sights on coaching

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    The Younghusband twins, Phil and James. (Photo from FIFA.com)

    SO what does celebrated midfielder James Younghusband do for an encore?

    Plenty, according to confidant and coach Jojo Durian, after the longtime Philippine Azkal mainstay announced his retirement from football on Instagram last week.

    “In fact James and I are looking at offers for him to coach in the United States,” said Durian, who has helped run the Younghusband Football Academy owned by James and younger brother Phil for over a decade now.

    “Marami kaming plans sa women’s football and sa youth. Siguro, after this COVID-19 crisis we can move faster,” Durian said in a recent radio interview on his thoughts about James and Phil, the country’s top striker.

    With Phil retiring months earlier, he said that James had tried to see if he could strike out on his own without his sibling by his side “and he seems to have had fun playing for Ceres.

    But ganun talaga.”

    Living inside the same secure compound in Muntinlupa, Durian said he practically sees the older Younghusband, who looks after younger sister Keri, daily, adding the elder brother has become the father figure after both their parents died a few years ago.

    “Parang tatay talaga ang dating ni James,” he described of the relationship between the eldest Younghusband sibling and the youngest, who recently graduated from Grade 12 at the Colegio de San Agustin.

    The coach noted differences between James and Phil.

    “James as a person is the quiet type sa mga kapatid. He has the heart of an artist,” Durian explained. “Si Phil, ano ‘yan, magalaw, he likes to lead the pack. Peron napansin ko kapag may trouble, pag my problem duon lalabas ang pagka-kuya ni James. When there is a problem he steps up.

    “Pero pag wala, magaaan (sila) kasama. That is why when we met in 2009 (for the academy), hindi na kami naghiwalay.”

    While James is a midfielder and Phil is a forward, he said that “both players are game-changers, although the younger brother gets the spotlight because of his position. But if you will notice, a lot of his goals were the results of assists by James. They are both ultimate professionals.”

    Even in retirement, the Younghusband brothers won’t turn back on their adopted motherland that made them famous, according to Durian.

    “Gusto nila mag-turo. They learned their football in one of the good clubs (Chelsea). They were trained by one of the best clubs in the whole world,” he explained.

    He reiterated that James had offers to coach youth in the US and South Korea. “Pero temporary lang,” he said.

    “They (the Younghusbands) will continue to help Philippine football. This is the reason why we are entertaining coaching in the US because it is for the youth and we intend to bring it back,” Durian said.