As a player, you get a feeling for when you’ve got a positive dressing room.
One that can overcome setbacks, be resilient and work together effectively under pressure.
It wasn’t until I started to coach that I started to think about and understand how you actually create that. What it is that you need, so that you’re able to create it.
I was fortunate to have the playing career that I had. I managed to get to the Premier League somehow, with Southampton, but most of my career was in the lower leagues – Division Two, League Two, the Conference.
Every year, you’re surviving the thousands of players who are out of contract and end up out of the game. And I never quite shook the feeling that, at some stage, football was going to kick me out too.
I was 30 when I decided to leave before that could happen.
If I’m honest, by then I’d stopped enjoying playing. At the time, that was quite a powerful thing for me to admit – playing football was all I dreamed of as a kid. But I’d reached the stage when I stopped feeling my career was progressing. I realised the Manchester Uniteds and Real Madrids weren’t coming for me.