Before taking on a player-coach job at the Danish club Nordsjaelland, the Ghana legend worked with some of the best managers in the game.
Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho has been described by former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Michael Essien as the best manager he has worked with throughout his playing career.
After his fine performances in Ligue 1, Mourinho took Essien to England for a recorded club-record fee, where he won back-to-back top-flight titles with Lyon.
Between 2004 and 2007, Essien established himself as a key player for Chelsea under Mourinho and then reunited with the Portuguese tactician whom he once called his Real Madrid daddy.
When asked about his best coaches, the 37-year-old chose Mourinho, who was named his number one Tottenham manager last November and also included Carlo Ancelotti of Everton as another coach with whom he had a great relationship.
For me [in terms of managers I’ve served under], he [Mourinho] will be the first one, “Essien told talkSport.”
“He’s always a fantastic boss. I served under him, and we had a good relationship with him, and I also had a really good relationship with Ancelotti. Those two are really good executives.
In my career and growth, they have all played a part. It’s nice to look back and reflect on what things they taught me and [in my coaching career] I will take that on board.
In the summer, when Danish Superliga club FC Nordsjaelland handed him a player-coach job, Essien began a new direction in football, giving him an opportunity to improve his coaching skills.
With the new job, the two-time Premier League winner is delighted as he looks forward to being in the dug-out.
I just started making my coaching badges, and I’ve got a great chance to come over here. “I’m very excited to be here, and it’s all about a new career change, because I have a lot to offer to young people,” he said.
I always wanted to be in the game and I love the game, so why not [become a boss in the future]? When I was playing, if you asked me if I was going to be a coach, I would have said no, but things are beginning to change as time goes on.
“Now I’m enjoying my new job. Being a coach is very different from being a player. I have always been a professional, so it is very good to learn the coaching part of the game and it provides me with an open mind in terms of the game. I’m still studying and enjoying it.
“My choices are open. The most important thing is to understand the game elements, get the badges and keep open my options to see what happens.