After forming a lifelong friendship at Leeds United, Michael Bridges admits he thought Harry Kewell would be the last player to go into management.
The former Socceroos striker has in fact made a lively start to his coaching career, impressing at League Two side Crawley Town and earning a move to Notts County.
But when he was a player at Elland Road, Bridges concedes he never saw Kewell making it as a coach.
"Harry was probably one of the great players I’ve played with, but when he wasn’t involved in set plays or anything, he'd just switch off - he didn’t want to know what the coach was saying," Bridges told Goal.
"When I was playing with him, he’d be the last player I’d think of going into coaching.
"Harry made a big decision to go into coaching which I was very surprised at. He’s left his family in Manchester, gone three hours down to Crawley and he’s worked his socks off.
"Every time Harry put his mind to something, whether it was playing golf or computer games or whatever competition it was between us, Harry wouldn’t stop until he won and once he won he wouldn’t take his foot off - he’d go hard again."
That competitive streak has proved to be Kewell's biggest strength and weakness as a coach to date with the Aussie sent off in a recent match for Notts.
While his move from Crawley to County has gotten off to a tough start, Kewell is yet to win across four games, Bridges has backed the move and believes Kewell can turn Notts around.
"It’s a huge move, bigger club, far more potential than Crawley Town," he said.
"Yes, they are bottom of the league, but they are a bigger club and closer to home for him.
"He did get sent off in his first game which I found very funny - that’s Harry. If your team is being beat 5-0 he’ll go mental. That’s what you need.
"If you could bottle up his mentality and sell it, you’d be a millionaire."
Bridges himself is making the move into management and has his eye on a future full-time position - possibly in the A-League.
After falling out of love with coaching at Newcastle Jets when Nathan Tinkler was in control of the club, Bridges has rediscovered his passion for it and will be helping a familiar face this season.
"I've just joined Luke Wilkshire down at Wollongong Wolves as his assistant manager, so I’m going to help them out over the NPL season," he said.
"I’ve already applied for a few jobs, put my hat in for a few and I’ve got a burning desire to be a coach.
"Once the kids are 14-15 I’ll be ready to go full-time and have a crack somewhere."