NEWCASTLE United goalkeeper Steve Harper admits he is looking to a coaching career as he nears the end of his playing days.
But while the veteran is already making plans for when he hangs up his gloves, he still hopes to play a key role on the pitch next season.
Newcastle’s longest-serving player has been keeping his hand in over the summer by helping coach Newcastle School for Boys’ football team, as well as attending a goalkeeping course this month.
And he will complete his UEFA B coaching licence in August as he keeps one eye on the future.
“I think I’ve always been a frustrated coach,” Harper told the club’s website. “ I’m always asking why we are doing certain things just to pick their brains really.
“I’ve been fortunate to work under some great managers. Sir Bobby is obviously the stand-out one, Kevin Keegan as well, and Alan Pardew.
“I’m not so sure about going into management, as the pressure of results and all that is phenomenal, but I like the idea of coaching.
“And you never know, if you go into coaching then ultimately that could happen. I’m not ruling anything in or out at this stage.
“I’ve got myself back fully fit now. I’ll keep my options open and see what happens.”
Harper suffered a miserable last campaign, failing to make a single first-team appearance for United thanks to injury and the emergence of Tim Krul as United’s No1.
The 37-year-old is entering the last year of his contract at Newcastle as he starts his 20th season with the club, and wants to make the most of the limited playing time he has left.
“Time’s running out, I’m not getting younger,” Harper added.
“If it’s the same situation next year, I would look to go on loan somewhere.”