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.
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