AFTER several days of careful consideration, I’ve come to a conclusion – Claudio Donatelli is just like a lightbulb.
‘You what?’ the chorus cries. No, I haven’t lost my marbles entirely just yet, though the Lake Garda sunshine may be encouraging a few brain cells to embark on holidays of their own.
I don’t mean that Mr Donatelli, Swindon Town’s fitness coach, bears any resemblance to Thomas Edison’s grand electric design, in shape or character. Far from it.
Instead I mean that his work with the Robins’ players, although sometimes forgotten, neglected or taken for granted, makes others’ far less stressful.
Imagine, if you will, a seamstress working in a pitch black room. She is trying to weave blind, but keeps pricking herself and has to start again.
Eventually her end product is messy and unsightly.
In the room next to her a rival has the benefit of light at the flick of a switch. Which is more likely to become a success?
Thanks to Donatelli, Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio (and this is going to be the only time I will ever call him this) is like the second seamstress.
Every morning, Di Canio’s fitness coach runs his players through at least half an hour of detailed stretching exercises, working on core stability, body resistance and muscular strength.
Donatelli is meticulous, he talks the players through every single movement he wants them to make and he corrects individuals’ posture and position one by one – effectively these Town players could not be better prepared by the time they switch to the ball-work overseen by Di Canio.
Apart from being physically very fit himself, Donatelli is also tremendously dedicated to his work – he returned to Swindon’s training base at Hotel Veronello just 24 hours after the birth of his baby boy Pietro on Sunday.
Without him Di Canio would undoubtedly cope, the Town boss has enough experience in fitness drills from his time at the top level in England and Italy after all, but in Donatelli he has the perfect foil.
And with him on board, the future looks very bright for the Robins.