WHILE Mark Hudson is studying to be a manager, his own boss is seemingly rewriting the coaching rulebook.
The Huddersfield captain is planning for a life in the dugout as he heads towards the end of his playing days.
But as the 35-year-old explains, he will not find many of David Wagner’s methods in the manuals he is reading.
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For the German — whose best mate is Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp — has transformed the Terriers this season with his innovative ideas.
And Hudson reckons their run to tomorrow’s Championship play-off final against Reading can be traced back to Wagner’s most wackiest suggestion yet — last summer’s survival camp on a remote Swedish island.
It was there that the Terriers, who had to fend for four days without electricity, toilets and running water, forged a team bond which they take with them into the rather different surrounds of Wembley.
Hudson said: “I remember that trip well — it was certainly an eye opener!
“The boss did it once before with Borussia Dortmund and he said he would never do it again, so that says something!
“We had four days of rowing, camping, cooking and getting to know each other.
“They took away all our phones and anything else that we could have communicated with.
“The players were grumbling every morning when they woke up on a mat!
“It was really hard work but when you look back on it now, it might have given us that edge.
“It has maybe given us that five or six per cent difference.
“It was an opportunity to get to know the strengths and weakness of the group and basically bond.”
The hard work has never stopped for Huddersfield since, with Wagner flogging his troops in training.
There were double sessions throughout pre-season and once a week during the campaign, with days off cut down and players even drilled on the morning of an evening game.
But Hudson insisted: “It’s an important aspect of what’s given us our energy levels and our base fitness.
“For me, that was typified by our semi-final second leg against Sheffield Wednesday. From the 75th minute, we were so strong.
“And even in extra-time, we looked like a much stronger side.
“That’s what that training regime has given us.”
The Terriers try and mirror their training time with the kick-off of their next match.
Hudson explained: “If we are playing at 3pm on a Saturday, we come in for 1.30pm and we will be on the grass at 3pm.
“If we have a night match at 8pm, we will be on the grass from maybe 6pm, which is close enough to be able to get the body in the right sort of time zone for the night after.”
Wagner also ordered his new signings to live within 15 miles of their training ground.
Hudson smiled: “I live in Manchester now and he didn’t make me move!
“Being an older pro, my kids are settled in schools. But when you are new to the club, it’s important to be near here, because it gives you the opportunity to be on the site a lot more. The boss doesn’t want to waste energy with travel, which is great.”
Their Canalside complex used to be the working men’s club for the nearby chemical factory.
And it remains open to the public, where OAPs come for lunch or a game of snooker, while the Terriers team go about their match preparations.
Hudson said: “It’s a community area and a community club. We didn’t want to push everyone away. We wanted to keep it like it is. You don’t want to go away from the family side of things.” Hudson has been part of the Huddersfield family since he joined from Cardiff in 2014.
But the centre-back featured in less than half of their league games this season and he is likely to be on the bench again at Wembley.
Yet the veteran knows he is still playing an influential role in the Terriers dressing room.
He said: “When you’re not playing it can be frustrating, but I’ve always been involved.
“I obviously still want to play but the boys that are playing have done fantastic.
“So I’m not going to be one chucking my toys out of the pram. I’m there to support the boys — it’s about being a group and if anyone needs help or advice, I am always there.”
Still, limited game time is why Hudson is starting to think about a move into management.
And he is certainly picking up plenty of top tips from the in- demand Wagner.
Hudson, who is now studying for his A licence, added: “I’ve got a lot to learn but I’ve learned lots and lots and lots from this manager, too much to name really.
“Without a shadow of a doubt he has what it takes to work in the Premier League — hopefully it’s with us.”