Barnsley striker Carlton Morris has hailed new boss Markus Schopp as a ‘humble, down-to-earth human being’ in an interview with the Yorkshire Post, with the Austrian taking his first training sessions in South Yorkshire.
Schopp, 47, was appointed manager at the end of last month after the departure of former boss Valerien Ismael to West Brom, who has taken former captain Alex Mowatt with him to The Hawthorns.
With Barnsley finishing fifth in the second tier last season and narrowly missing out on promotion, expectations will be high, but without the 26-year-old midfielder there to lead the side and the return of talisman Daryl Dike to Orlando City, this will be a difficult task.
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The Tykes just about escaped relegation in the 2019/20 campaign under Gerhard Struber after Wigan Athletic’s points deduction – and with Barnsley competing at both ends of the Championship table in the last couple of years – just about anything could happen next season.
It will be Schopp’s job to temper expectations, steady the ship and get his players in the right mindset going into the 2021/22 campaign despite the loss of a few key figures. That, though, will be easier said than done.
Despite this, Morris has enjoyed his time with the new boss during his first few pre-season training sessions and not only commented on footballing matters, but his man-management skills off the pitch.
Speaking about Schopp to the Yorkshire Post, Morris said: “He is a lovely guy and you cannot say a bad word about him so far.
“We get the ball down in training and pump it about with the same intensity we had last year. It is really enjoyable.
“He takes training well and you also know he’s quite open to ideas in terms of what times we have breakfast as lads travel in from afar.
“You get some managers who rule with an iron fist sometimes, but he just seems like a humble, down-to-earth human being and that is the type of manager I love working for.
“He is a ‘door-is-always-open’ kind of guy.”
When you have a well-respected figure like Valerien Ismael leave the club, it’s so important to get someone in that the players warm to and will give that extra 10% for.
Schopp seems like that man at Oakwell from Morris’ comments and they will be hoping to replicate this satisfaction in pre-season training in the results they produce.
The Austrian has never managed in England before, so he is set to bring something different to the Championship and this could play in Barnsley’s favour going into a crucial campaign.
The Tykes’ reaction to their play-off disappointment against Swansea in May will be key to their success next season – and they will at least want to consolidate their status as a competitive Championship side in the next 12 months.
From Morris’ interview, the early signs look good.