I first worked with Rod in 2000 when he started work at Manchester United. He was a bright and good natured person with a great sense of humour, so I knew he should have no problems fitting into the set up at Carrington. The players found him to be an asset to the club in a time of great success for the team.
As his skills developed as a masseur an opportunity came available with the national team and as a captain, I didn’t hesitate to put his name forward to Sven Goran Ericsson.
I worked with Rod at Man Utd until I left in 2003 and continued to work with him with the national team until my retirement from international football.
All this tme Rod’s attitude never changed, he is a hard working and friendly person, who has a positive effect on everyone around him.
Manchester United have an asset in Rod Thornley and I know for fact that he will be hugely missed by all that work with him at The FA, and he will be very difficult to replace.
I write to give a personal view and testimony about Rod Thornley.
I have been Head of Medical services at the FA since early 2009. The role includes being Doctor to the England Men’s Senior Team, leading the medical team, of which Rod is a member, whilst the team is together for matches and tournaments.
In the last five years, I have attended two FIFA World Cups, and one UEFA Championship, as well as matches in the Middle East, Kazakhstan, and various far flung places.
Rod Thornley has been a vital member of our medical team at all these events and venues. Rod has many qualities, some obvious, and some less so. What I can say about him is that he is loyal, honest, and conscientious. All these things are not invariably seen in one person, but his background has given him a set of values to admire.
Throughout the time I have worked with him, he has always been enthusiastic, able to communicate with all strata of staff, and has an understanding of his and others’ place in the multi-disciplinary medical team that I manage when with the England Team.
His skills as a soft tissue therapist are renowned within our set-up. Elite plays will not return for further treatment if they find the therapist in any way sub-standard. Suffice to say that Rod is always busy.
One quality that is less obvious until his surface is scratched is his excellent organisational abilities. He is able to cut across procrastination and formulate a definite plan for activities, as well as prepare schedules for treatments for members of our squad.
Lastly, he acts as a valuable link between players and the medical team. In our daily multi-disciplinary meetings, his insight into players’ emotional state and general wellbeing are invaluable. Armed with a fuller picture of player status, I am able to advise the coaching staff of any doubts in players, availability to train or play.
It just leaves me to say that he will be missed by us all, for his work ethic, enthusiasm, added value, and his ability to work with players who perform at the highest level.
Rod is a close friend of myself and my family. We formed a great working and personal relationship from my very first England cap, of which I went on to captain the England team.
Rod was a great masseur and for me not only great at his job but the things that people don’t see, like myself struggling with an injury before a big game at Wembley and Rod working late at night to make sure I was right for the game. I saw him do this with numerous players throughout my England career.
I was so impressed with how Rod worked and the way the players trusted him that I asked Chelsea if we could bring Rod to the club and they gave me the green light to speak to him, I was excited by this as captain of Chelsea, Rod would be an excellent addition to our backroom staff, I asked Rod one night over a coffee if he would be interested in joining us and there was an immediate answer of NO, and looking back I should have known because he was Man Utd through and through, and his response spoke volumes for me and the loyalty he showed was the reason I wanted him to come to Chelsea.
I have worked with some great people personally and professionally and Rod is right up there with the very best.
A genuine guy with a fantastic character and a great masseur.
I have known Rod since we first started working together in August 2001 with the England Senior Men’s Football Team. I have been the Head Physiotherapist for the team since August 1996. Rod has now worked in over 150 matches with me and been a valuable member of the Medical Team. From the moment he started working with us he has shown he is loyal and conscientious and has added value to the support the Medical Team has given the playing staff. His soft tissue therapy skills were excellent but he was always willing to learn and actually attended several CPD events organised for the England Medical Team. This included ‘Kinnective’ tissue courses, pilates courses and functional movement courses.
He has always been punctual and professional and it would be difficult to match his experience at this elite level. He contributed to medical meetings and was liked by all players, staff and management. His enthusiasm was infectious which was vital when being on the road for such long periods.
His organisational skills were excellent and he was the only person who could successfully organise events involving the players.
I did try to recruit him to come and work at my previous club, but his loyalty to Manchester United prevented him from doing so.
In conclusion I would say Rod is a highly experienced and highly skilled soft tissue therapist who will be greatly missed by the England Medical Team. I would go as far as to say that it will be difficult to replace him with someone of similar abilities.
I would have no hesitation in acting as a referee for Rod in the future.
I have known Rod Thornley for thirteen years and we have always had a strong working relationship.
Rod is extremely loyal, professional and hard working. He helped me a great deal during my time with England with his top-level therapy and soft tissue massage.
Rod is very reliable and certainly one of the best I have worked with in my career. I would not hesitate to use him in the future and highly recommend him to others.
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