Steve Staunton has spent more than 20 years playing professionally, appeared more than 100 times for the Republic of Ireland, and was one of the finest defenders in Aston Villa's history.
It was inevitable, then, that he should entrusted with the task of leading Ireland to the 2008 European Championships. Staunton will take over as Ireland manager at the end of the week and will leave his position as assistant manager to Paul Merson with Walsall.
Staunton, who turns 37 next week, is likely to work with Sir Bobby Robson, the former England head coach, who will provide the experience of more than 50 years in the game.
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This is Ireland's attempt to go back to the future. This is Staunton's attempt to go return to the centre of international football.
Staunton represented his country in three World Cups and, significantly, emerged as a man of principle.
When Roy Keane undermined the authority of Mick McCarthy, the Ireland manager, before the 2002 World Cup in Korea, Staunton sided with McCarthy.
It was a move that clearly endeared Staunton to the Football Association of Ireland.
Staunton, who has also played for Walsall this season, is understood to have held talks over the weekend with officials from the FAI.
The FAI have been buoyed by the success of the talks, but they remain at a delicate stage and have yet to be concluded.
Should the duo be officially confirmed, their first game will be a Lansdowne Road friendly against Sweden on Wednesday, March 1.
That will begin a six-month countdown ahead of the start of the qualification programme for the 2008 European Championships.
Staunton is Ireland's most capped player, making 102 appearances including 16 as captain. His last match for Ireland came in the the second round of the 2002 World Cup against Spain when McCarthy's team lost on penalties.
His potential appointment will bring an end to a near three-month search for the FAI in the wake of Brian Kerr's dismissal following his failure to guide the Republic to this summer's World Cup finals in Germany.
Robson was one of the leading candidates to take the job, while John Aldridge, David O'Leary, Roy Keane were also in the frame. But Irish officials want stability and loyalty. Staunton will provide all of these qualities.
Merson will wish his friend and colleague well when they part next week.
"Steve is respected in Ireland, and I think the Irish fans would want it," Merson said. "I'd back him. Everybody who plays football would love to manage their country one day, so of course I'd let him go. No worries about that."
There will be no problems between Staunton and Keane. Keane has since retired from the international game, so there would be no potential personality clash.
Staunton joined Liverpool in September 1986 from Dundalk. He enjoyed two spells at Aston Villa (1991-98 and 2000-03), and returned to Anfield between July 1998 and December 2000.
He also played for Bradford and Crystal Palace on loan and Coventry City.
Robson, in stark contrast to Staunton, has vast experience of management.
He cut his teeth with Fulham, who he served as a player, before joining Ipswich in 1969, leading the unfashionable Suffolk side to FA Cup success in 1978, two runners-up finishes in the old First Division and a Uefa Cup triumph in 1981.
He took on the England job in 1982 in succession to Ron Greenwood and under extreme pressure took his country to the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals in Mexico and the semi-finals in Italy in 1990.
Robson moved on to PSV Eindhoven, had a successful stint with Sporting Lisbon and Porto, led Barcelona to a European Cup Winners' Cup triumph and returned to PSV before going back to his roots with Newcastle in 1999. He helped them to qualify for the Champions' League but was dismissed in August 2004 after a poor start to the campaign.
The connections between Staunton and Robson are virtually non-existent but there is a mutual respect and a healthy desire to succeed at international level.
Staunton has suddenly become the future again. n Republic of Ireland striker Clinton Morrison gave his backing to the possible double appointment - saying Staunton would be welcomed by the players and predicting Robson would add valued experience.
The Crystal Palace and former Birmingham City player said: "It'd be a good appointment - and if he brings Bobby Robson in with him that'd be brilliant because he's got great experience.
"He helped a lot of the young players when I was around him, and I hope he still likes me."