Yaya Toure has thanked Rovers, and Academy boss Stuart Jones, for their help in his path into coaching.

The former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder left Qingdao Huanghai in China at the start of 2020 and despite not being sure whether he was ready to give up playing, he’s made the move into coaching within the last 12 months.

Toure wasn’t sure it was the path he wanted to take, but having been inspired by those he has worked under, the 37-year-old is keen to give it a go.

Rovers are no strangers to offering opportunities to aspiring coaches undertaking their coaches badges, with Stewart Downing having taken sessions last year prior to agreeing his return as a player.

Toure spent time coaching with Rovers’ Academy age groups, and writing a piece for the Coaches Voice, says he’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities presented to him.

He wrote: “I’ve also had the chance to go to Blackburn thanks to Stuart Jones, and the PFA – through Geoff Lomax – have given me great opportunities too. I’m learning all the time, and I love it.

“Helping players develop like they did with me is what inspires me to be a coach, taking players to the top of their game. The best coaches are the ones who can do that.

“I have to be honest, though; it is difficult to completely give up on football. Maybe my legs have one more year left in them!

“But I have started to realise how good it is to be a coach.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has made things difficult in a lot of ways – it was the reason I left Qingdao Huanghai in China at the start of 2020 – but it has given me the opportunity to learn. I have taken the chance to start doing my coaching badges and think about the next chapter. I’ve already made good progress in gaining my qualifications.

“Thanks to everyone who has helped me in my transition into coaching, I’m getting the chance to start doing that.”

During his time working at Rovers in late 2020, Toure also visited Moorland School, who work closely with Rovers as their educational partner and whose alumni include Academy graduates Joe Grayson and Stefan Mols.

He led coaching sessions for their teenage prospects during a five-day stay.

The former Ivory Coast international played 317 times in an eight-year stay with Manchester City before leaving in 2018, having joined from Barcelona.

Toure says it wasn’t until his arrival at City that he found his best role in a side, as a box-to-box midfielder, and credits the coaching of Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini in that.

As for his style of coaching, Toure says ‘sitting in an office the whole time – that’s not me’.

And that’s why he’s enjoyed his time working with the Academy teams at QPR under Chris Ramsey.

He added: “I want to be out on the grass, interacting with other people, exchanging ideas. I’ve been very lucky that Chris Ramsey has given me the opportunity to do that at QPR.

“I’ve been able to lead coaching sessions with the younger age groups.

“They have pushed me to learn, and have shown me what you need to do differently to be a top coach.”