September 25, 2023

Premier League strugglers Chelsea have hired New Zealand rugby union mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka on a short-term basis following a shocking run of form in all competitions this season.

Enoka has been part of the All Blacks’ setup for over 22 years, the first 15 as a mental coach and the last seven as a leadership manager.

He has been credited with helping drive team culture and improving the squad’s mentality during New Zealand’s recent period of dominance in rugby union, ultimately leading to World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015 following years of underperformance.

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Chelsea have now hired Enoka in a short-term consultancy role in order to help in that same regard, with the Blues recognising that there is a weight of expectation on a lot of young players following Todd Boehly’s unprecedented spending sprees.

Enoka worked with New Zealand’s cricket team before stepping into rugby union, though this will be his first venture into football.

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He hit the headlines in 2017 when he explained his ‘no d***head’ policy, stating: “A dickhead makes everything about them. They are people who put themselves ahead of the team, people who think they’re entitled to things, expect the rules to be different for them, people operating deceitfully in the dark, or being unnecessarily loud about their work.

“The management might not spot these counterproductive behaviours. The players and leaders themselves should call others out for their inflated egos. Often teams put up with it because a player has so much talent.

“We look for early warning signs and wean the big egos out pretty quickly. Our motto is: ‘If you can’t change the people, change the people’.

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