And what a first game for the 40-year-old as Posh heads to Britannia Stadium on Saturday, November 20 to face Stoke City in a league game. Etherington, who started his playing career at the age of 15 at Posh, has spent his last five years as a professional footballer at Stoke.
Stoke paid West Ham £ 2million for Etherington in January 2009 and he played 176 times scoring 16 goals for the club before retiring.
“It’s weird how things are sometimes in football,” Etherington said. “Starting my new role at Stoke, a great club that gave me great times is amazing. It was the last club I played for and I had five and a half brilliant years in front of their exceptional fans. It’s a very loyal group of supporters and I can’t wait to go back on Saturday. Obviously we will go there with a plan to get a result. “
After leaving Stoke, Etherington became a coach and recently earned the full set of FA coaching badges on passing his professional license. He led the Posh Under 18s to back-to-back league titles before moving to the Under-23 squad for the start of this season.
Mark Robson’s decision to leave Posh to work for the West Ham Under-23s opened the door for the first team faster than expected.
“The manager gave me a brilliant opportunity,” added Etherington. “I was humbled when he asked and delighted to accept. It’s a new challenge for me and I can’t wait to get started.
“I learned a lot from Mark Robson and wish him all the best at West Ham. I played a lot for the first team last season and this season. I know the players well and hope to be able to make some even better relationships and help them get the most out of them.
“Continuity was important for the manager. We know how the other works so it should be okay. I’m going to have to adapt, but I’m going to give it my all.
“I will be eternally grateful to the club for all the opportunities they have given me.”
Etherington has been replaced as Under-23 boss by another former Posh star, Simon Davies, who goes under-18. Davies was replaced by Jamal Campbell-Ryce who only recently joined the club.