sport news Scott Parker's preparation for becoming a manager has been perfect

If the secret of moving smoothly from a playing career into coaching is being able to pick the best bits and avoid the worst from managers you worked with, then it explains why Scott Parker has taken smoothly to such a brutal business.

Parker played for more than 20 managers if you include the caretakers as he savoured the thrill of the Champions League, the gloom of relegation and the whirl of international football.

Among his five England bosses were Sven Goran Eriksson who 'seemed very chilled', Stuart Pearce, who made him captain, and Fabio Capello who was 'very, very scary' and ran the show 'like a dictatorship'.

Scott Parker has taken bits of more than 20 of his managers into his coaching career so far

Scott Parker has taken bits of more than 20 of his managers into his coaching career so far

He has guided Fulham to three wins in a row and has become a candidate for the full-time job

He has guided Fulham to three wins in a row and has become a candidate for the full-time job

Parker marvelled at the force of personality when Jose Mourinho first swept into Chelsea, the 'tough love' of Graeme Souness at Newcastle and the man-management charms of Harry Redknapp at Tottenham where he first started to think like a coach.

'At the back end of my career I'd put myself in the situations you see in changing rooms,' said Parker. 'Where there is conflict, arguments, fights, players refusing this and that, players kicking off. I was constantly working out how I would have coped with that.

'On the field, I was probably coaching more, helping players and doing my coaching badges.

'John McDermott was at Spurs and he probably pushed me into it, and there was the fear of being 31 and not knowing what I was going to do next.'

Parker has been a Premier League manager for little more than two months, since Claudio Ranieri was sacked and he was summoned from the backroom to lead Fulham to the end of this dismal campaign.

In terms of full-time experience, there was a year coaching Spurs' Under 18s and seven months working with Slavisa Jokanovic and Ranieri... but now there is sense of destiny at play.

He could not save Fulham from relegation — three of his first five games were against top six teams — but as he goes to Wolves on Saturday on the back of three wins, making positive noises about a swift return to the Premier League, the club seems at ease with itself again.

'I wasn't expecting to be in this position,' said Parker. 'But have I planned and prepared over the last six or seven years so that when I was in this position I could be successful? Yes, I believe I have. And I'm glad I've done that. I did it because when the time came, be it now or in a year's time sitting in an interview trying to get a job to be a manager, I didn't want to sink.

He could not save Fulham from relegation but the club seems at ease with itself once again

'Claudio left and the owners said, it's over to you, take a deep breath and go. Then the challenge starts. Parts of football are not nice and don't sit right. Claudio was losing his job and 15 minutes later you're out there trying to prepare a team.

'But that's the reality, it's what you're used to seeing. The hard cold light of it. I've seen it with Slav and Claudio and I've seen it with managers when I played for them. You become hardened to it. I realise that. Claudio realised that. Claudio was superb.'

Parker reflects with appreciation on his own football education. He was a child prodigy, paid £600 to star as a keepy-up kid in a McDonald's advert ahead of the World Cup in 1994. His father Mick was tough on him after games, but this was nothing compared to Keith Blunt, his coach for two years at the FA's School of Excellence in Lilleshall.

'Keith was possibly the hardest man for six months of my life and made it hell,' said Parker. 'I would walk off the training

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