Wigan Athletic: Kolo Toure's 'trailblazing' admission

Wigan Athletic's manager-in-waiting Kolo Toure has always wanted to be a trailblazer for black coaches.

The 41-year-old was Latics' first choice to replace Leam Richardson, who was relieved of his duties on November 10.

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Toure enjoyed a long and distinguished playing career that saw him play more than 500 times for Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Celtic and the Ivory Coast, for whom he won 120 international caps.

Kolo Toure

After hanging up his boots, Toure coached at Celtic and with the Ivory Coast before following Brendan Rodgers to Leicester City in 2019.

And he is well aware he is flying the flag for the next generation of black and minority ethnic coaches who have dreams of making it to the very top.

“There is no aspiration because there is no African equivalent to a Sir Alex Ferguson figure to inspire future generations," he said in an interview with the Sun in 2019. "More African nations than ever appear at World Cups but their managers are French or German. I want to change that.

"The thing I really like about the Premier League is it doesn’t matter where you’re from — if you are good you will play. People judge you on what you do. I really like that.

"When I first came in 2002 there was nobody to inspire me. There were African players like Kanu, but not from my country.

"But I liked the thought of trying to inspire others, to show difficult things are possible.

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"Once I finished playing, my idea was to use that experience to succeed as a manager and help future generations.”

The fire inside Toure was something quickly spotted by Rodgers, who had been his manager at Liverpool and Celtic before giving him his first step into coaching.

"Kolo is someone that I have transitioned into coaching," he told the BBC, also in 2019. "I brought him onto my staff at Celtic last summer and he's been absolutely brilliant.

"He's got a great rapport with the players - everywhere he goes they have the Kolo dance - it follows him everywhere.

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"And I enjoy working with new people as well. It's a really strong team of people that we have."

Electing to break the apron strings from Rodgers is clearly a big decision for Toure, who admits his mentor 'changed my life' after he finished playing.

"I do love Brendan," he told ‘442’ magazine last year. "He doesn’t need to love me. He’s already shown how much he cares about me, though.

"I played for him at two clubs and now he’s taken me on as a Leicester coach – that shows me everything.

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"Brendan is a man who changed my life as well. Managers take you on because they trust you, and that’s all that matters for me.

"I’ll never forget what he has done and is doing for me every day, as he’s like my big brother.

"It was always my intention to get into coaching, as I wanted to stay in football.

"It’s like I said about relationships – at some point, one of you might want to move on, but the love is still there.

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"We always respect fans and have a great consideration for them, but sometimes we have to leave for other things."

For Toure, that time is now.