In a career that now stretches back well over a decade, former Dundee United and Dundee favourite Paul Dixon has had many team-mates he could tell would one day move into management.
But if he was compiling a list of them, he admits few would be higher on it than current Tangerines boss Robbie Neilson.
And “Dicker” reveals from the day their paths first crossed at Tannadice, back in 2011, Neilson was a man he knew would stay in the game beyond his playing days.
“I know it sounds a bit stupid but just the way Robbie dressed made you think he was someone to take seriously,” said Paul.
“While myself and the other boys would be turning up in joggers, a T-shirt and trainers, every day he would come in wearing shoes, jeans or trousers and a shirt and was always smart.
“It summed up his approach – everything he did was very professional. He trained well and prepared properly for every match.
“He was very organised and, as well as being a good player, his knowledge of the game was excellent. Everything about him made you think he was one who would definitely be going into coaching and management.”
And that he’s been a success since taking over from Csaba Laszlo at United comes as no surprise to Paul either. He expected that to continue for the long term and he’s tipping Neilson’s side to possibly even hit the top of the Championship when they face Ayr United at Tannadice on Friday night.
“I know they have to win 4-0 to go above Ayr and they’ve been having a good season but United have been great recently and they are capable of beating anyone by that kind of margin.
“Having said that, I’m sure Robbie would settle for a 1-0 win because it’s where they are at the end of the season, not the end of this week, that matters.
“And what the results he’s got so far mean is if United were to lose this one, and I don’t think they will, they will still be right up there challenging. That’s not something that looked likely when he came in.
“He’s done a great job and it’s amazing to see the difference between the way the same players are performing now compared to games at the start of the season.”
Having left Grimsby by mutual consent earlier this month, Paul has taken a couple of weeks off before getting down to finding a club up here and making sure he’s fit and ready to go with his new employers, whoever they are, when he’s eligible to play again at the start of January.
Part of that process will see him team up with another old acquaintance.
“Having been down south on my own for most of the past 18 months, I wanted to take a break for a couple of weeks and spend some time with the family,” he explained.
“From next week, though, I’m going to be training with United’s U/20s under Scott Robertson. Robbo and I go back a long way – to our days as kids at Dundee – so it will be good to be working with him again.
“I’m very grateful to him, and Robbie, for letting me go in and train with the kids. Because I was with Grimsby after the summer transfer window closed it means I can’t play for anyone else until January.
“It’s important that, when it comes round, I’m fit and ready, and training with United will mean I am.”
When it was announced Paul was quitting the game down south, his phone started ringing and he is very hopeful he will be fixed up soon.
While he’s not in a position to give details, there has been interest from the Premiership and the Championship.
“Nothing is sorted for definite yet but I’ve spoken to a couple of managers and I am hopeful.”