When I first met Roberto Martínez, I had exactly the same feeling as when I met my wife for the first time. I knew it was going to work.
We’re two people from very different backgrounds – and different cultures – who both believe in the same core values and want to set up a team in the same way. That made life easier straight away.
I was Roberto’s first signing at Swansea City. Arriving in south Wales, I found a group of players who weren’t playing to their potential. Outside influences were getting in the way.
It was a similar situation to the club I’d just left, Hamilton Academicals, where I’d cut my teeth as assistant manager for six months. Those six months taught me a lot about myself, and even more about dealing with players.
I discovered that I have a strong personality. There were things happening at Hamilton that I didn’t like and that I wasn’t afraid to do something about.
Ultimately, I found that players have to be led until they’ve earned the right to be trusted. Once that’s happened, you can work in a player-led environment – but only once they’ve earned the right.