Pete Shuttleworth: A Road Less Ordinary
Teacher, high school head coach, non-league manager, triathlon addict, scout, analyst, Wayne Rooney’s trusted lieutenant.
Pete Shuttleworth has trodden a unique path to become the Manchester United and England legend’s Assistant Coach at top Major League Soccer franchise DC United. The 44-year-old Football Careers client was raised as a cultured midfielder at Nottingham Forest in the heyday of iconic manager Brian Clough, who brought the English title and two European Cups to the City Ground in a glorious spell in the hot seat.
When Pete didn’t quite make the grade as a player at Forest, he discovered a love for coaching. And he recalled:
“I was teaching PE at a school in Chesterfield and I took a team of U15s. By the time we got to the U16s age bracket, we had made the National Schools Cup quarter-finals. We played in front of over 2,000 fans at Chesterfield’s old stadium, Saltergate, and I thought to myself that I might have a chance to make an impact on players.
“We had two Sheffield United Academy players and the rest were from grassroots, so I felt I was influencing them. As time moved on, I went to a club called Shirebrook Town FC. I was still playing midfield with all these teenagers around me in the A team and within a year, I was first-team assistant — and then I was put in charge of the top team at the age of 27.”
Pete was a coaching anomaly in the gritty, rough-and-tumble world of English non-league football. His academic life as a successful sports science graduate at the elite Loughborough University meshed with his previous football education at Cloughie’s Academy.
He had an idea of how he wanted to see the game played… and coached. And he reasoned:
“I had got myself involved in coaching at Loughborough and found that I liked it more than playing. I had been brought up as a player in the Centre of Excellence at Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest and their ways were ingrained in me.
“We were taught total football there, play and move — but when I didn’t make it at that level and dropped to non-league, I was shouting for the ball as a midfielder from the centre-back and they were thumping it 50 yards over my head! I didn’t like that very much, to be honest: I thought there had to be more to football than that.
“That was an interesting baptism for me as a coach, though. Loughborough was an elite environment and there were good players there, but at non-league they were all playing the same way. It was a game of chance and I felt I could improve players and break the mould a little.”