The match itself was at Anfield. I was actually still playing, so I was in the starting line-up and Nev was on the sideline in that suit I mentioned (above). We lost to two late goals, but we got through it and then everyone went away – I went back to my club, which at the time was Southampton, while the Welsh FA invited people to interview for the job.
I remember being on holiday in Cyprus that summer, and ringing up to make sure my name was still on the list of candidates. They gave me an interview, and I got the job for the next two games: away in Belarus and at home to Switzerland.
We won the first and lost the second, but I’d clearly shown enough in terms of my preparation and how I wanted to shape the team. I got the job, and kept it for the next four years.
“The day I joined Chelsea, they signed Ruud Gullit – and the next summer it was Gianluca Vialli and Gianfranco Zola”
I had never been one of those players who, from the age of 20 or 25, had the view that: “Okay, when I finish playing, I’m going to be a coach.” That wasn’t in my mindset in those days.
Yes, I’d been away and played for top clubs in Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but otherwise I’d been at Manchester United from the age of 14 to when I left for Chelsea at 31. I’d come through the ranks there and had a fantastic time, but it was maybe the case that I didn’t really understand my own standing in the game until I left.
I went to Chelsea at exactly the right time. They were a mid-table Premier League club at that point, but on the same day I joined they signed Ruud Gullit – and the next summer it was Gianluca Vialli (below) and Gianfranco Zola. This was before the Roman Abramovich era, of course, but there was a feeling within the club that they wanted to get better, to kick on.