MARC BIRCHAM is best remembered from his playing days at Queens Park Rangers, but he now finds himself coaching Cesc Fabregas at Como.
The 44-year-old was well-known for his crazy hairstyle at QPR, dying his spiky trim blue and white to match the club's colours.
Bircham has moved on from his wild playing days and he is now managing Serie B side Como.
He was appointed first-team coach at the ambitious second division team in the summer of 2022.
Among those in the squad at the Lombardy-based club is Cesc Fabregas.
The ex-Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona star keeps the team ticking in midfield after he was convinced to join by Dennis Wise.
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Wise helps run the club, with Gunners legend Thierry Henry an investor and minority shareholder.
Bircham has spoken to talkSPORT about Como, saying: "Me and Dennis have been close for many years. He’s been CEO over here for about three years but he’s kept it under the radar.
"They’ve been promoted to Serie C, to Serie B and now they’re looking to kick on to Serie A in the next three years.. it’s a really good project.
"It’s a very good standard, there’s big budgets in the league. It’s the best Serie B they’ve had.
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"They’ve got Genoa and Cagliari, Parma are in the league too, there’s a lot of big teams and a lot of ex-Serie A teams too.
"[Wise] did have to talk me into it but it’s Lake Como so only working holiday hotspots."
On coaching World Cup winner Fabregas, Bircham said: "He’s over here, he’s looking to play as long as he can.
"He can still offer a lot to the team on the pitch and on the commercial side of things, Cesc coming in has really helped.”
There is a language barrier but Bircham is slowly learning Italian: "It’s great for me to come over and learn the language. I’m trying.
"Hopefully in six months I’ll be talking Italian but they said it would be more like Ray Winstone talking Italian."
His role in Italy is just the latest chapter of a fascinating career for Bircham, who represented the Canadian national team due to his grandfather being born there.
The ex-Millwall defender scored an international goal against Northern Ireland despite admitting he's never even visited Canada.
Bircham said with a giggle: "I’m the first person to ever score for their country without stepping foot there.
"My debut was Northern Ireland away and I sang the wrong national anthem. God Save the Queen came on and I blasted that out – they [team-mates] were all looking at me.
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"I came on as a sub, scored my first goal, kissed the badge – amazing."
He went on to play for Canada 17 times and after retiring he also coached at QPR and Chicago Fire.
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