Huddersfield Town midfielder Dean Whitehead will transition into a coaching role from the start of next season after to deciding to call time on his excellent playing career after Sunday’s Premier League season finale against Arsenal.
The 36-year-old already holds the UEFA A coaching license, and he will follow in the footsteps of former club skipper Mark Hudson who also retired and joined the backroom staff at the end of last season.
Hudson is now the U23 Coach with the club's Academy.
He will become part of David Wagner’s First Team technical staff on a full-time basis from the start of the 2018/19 campaign, before taking charge of the club’s new Under-17 Academy age group from 1st January 2019.
‘Deano’ started at Oxford United before winning promotion to the Premier League twice with Sunderland. He then moved to Stoke City and reached the 2011 FA Cup Final, followed by the Europa League quarter-final the following season.
He joined the Terriers from Middleborough in 2015, within which time he was able to enjoy promotion a third time with David Wagner’s squad at the end of the 2016/17 season.
In total, Whitehead played well over 600 games for his five professional clubs – 62 coming for Town – becoming a fan favourite thanks to his 100% style of play, expert reading of the game and quality.
Wagner: “Dean is a winner”
Speaking about Whitehead's new role, the Huddersfield head coach explained: “It is so important that we keep top quality individuals like Dean and Mark Hudson here, and I’m so happy that Dean has decided to begin his coaching career at Huddersfield Town.”
“Dean is a winner. He demands 100% effort from himself and everyone around him, he commands respect and is top quality in everything he does,” he continued.
Wagner went on to add: “I believe we’ve already seen the benefit of Mark Hudson’s quality and knowledge of our ‘Terrier’s identity’ within the Academy this season and Dean will only add to that.”
“We will give him every experience of coaching and behind the scenes work with the First Team during the first part of next season before he takes on the challenge with the Under-17 side,” the German boss concluded.
Whitehead: “The day has come that I always feared”
‘Deano’ took to twitter after the news was announced to thank the players he played with, the managers he’s worked with his family, wife and the fans who have supported him over the years.
“The day has come that I always feared. After the Arsenal game on Sunday, I will be hanging up my boots. I have played at some fantastic clubs over my career and am proud of all my achievements,” he said.
“New challenges lay ahead and I’m excited for the next chapter in my career,” he added.