Having enjoyed a career that has spanned almost 40 years and seen him reach the highest levels both as a player and a manager, they don’t come much more experienced than Mark Hughes.

Following an illustrious playing career that saw him represent the likes of Manchester United, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Wales, the 56-year-old then moved into management where he has taken charge of his country along with Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City and Southampton.

Although the Welshman is more than capable of dealing with the demands and pressures that come with working at the highest level, during a recent interview with UCFB, as part of the LMA Insight Series, he emphasised the importance of having a thirst for education and a desire to constantly improve.

YouTube video

“I think it’s vitally important,” he said. “It’s no hardship, in my view, to have a capacity to learn and a desire to learn. In sport, at whatever level or whichever area of professional sport that you want to go into, I think you have to educate yourself. You need to apply for and go on every course that’s available, and become a sponge to information so that you understand the role to the best extent you can.

“And once you’re in the role, don’t think that’s the end of your learning because clearly that’s when it all begins. That’s why continuous development is vitally important, it’s something I’ve done throughout my career and it’s been invaluable. It’s about going out there, seeking the knowledge that you need and the knowledge that you know will sustain you if you’re going to have a long career in the game.”

After being an integral part of the Manchester United side that lifted the first two Premier League titles in 1992/93 and 1993/94, Hughes has witnessed the competition’s transition from a traditional domestic league in to a renowned worldwide brand.

It’s this evolvement that has resulted in an influx of foreign playing talent across the league, meaning clubs have to be capable of communicating with both playing and management staff in a variety of different languages. This is a skill which Hughes believes those looking to work in the industry should possess, as it could potentially open up endless employment opportunities.

He commented: “It’s (The Premier League) become less of a British and English game, it’s more a world game now at the top level. I think as a consequence of that you’re getting lots of different players coming to the league with different mind-sets, different cultures and different languages as well.

“I think it’s really important that if you can have an alternative language then I think that will help you because it will just open so many doors, and give you opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to have if you weren’t able to converse in that different language.”

Hughes added: “I had the opportunity to work abroad but I didn’t take that opportunity well enough. That’s something I regret to this day because I would love to have a second language that I could converse in, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

“I think the importance of languages has increased as time has gone on, certainly during my time in the game.”

Mark Hughes was speaking as part of the UCFB-LMA Insight Series.