Ross County defender Liam Fontaine wants to show he has made the most of his lengthy spell on the sidelines by offering guidance to the Staggies’ young players in their efforts to avoid Premiership relegation.
Fontaine has slotted straight into County’s line-up for games against Aberdeen and Dundee since joining from Hibernian last week despite being restricted to just 10 appearances in 2017 and none since July due to two separate ankle injuries.
The 32-year-old used the recovery process to good effect as he completed his Uefa B coaching licence and the Englishman reckons he and his new Staggies team-mates can benefit from his studious approach.
Fontaine said: “You find in football that once you reach your early 30s, people tend to feel you’re on your way out. I feel good, though, I feel fit, but I have also been around, so I have got the experience. If any of the younger guys want to speak I can do that.
“You can learn different skill sets all the time.
“I was out injured in the early part of the season and I got to watch a lot of football. My perspective of the way I watch games changed, different techniques and tactics you need to win games. When you’re watching, it’s different to playing in games as you can see a lot more. It looks a lot easier but I can assure you when you’re on the pitch it’s not.
“Players should watch as much football as they can.
“I did my coaching badges while I was injured as well, as getting my B licence was the first step on the coaching path for me. You may as well learn while you can, while you’re in the environment rather than when you’ve finished.”
Fontaine enjoyed success at Hibs after arriving at Easter Road from Bristol City in 2014, lifting the Scottish Cup two years ago before helping the Edinburgh club to the Championship title last season. He hopes to transfer the winning feeling to Victoria Park, with Owen Coyle’s men three points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table.
Fontaine added: “I have come in from a good club in Hibs, who have been on the rise for the past three or four years. My mentality for that time has been winning things, so my mental state is quite positive. Even if that rubs off on a couple of players, it’s only going to help us.
“I’ve not been around that long but the vibe is good around the place. On Saturday everything started blossoming with the win at Dundee.”