After 12 years of playing for Swansea City, and captaining them in their climb from League Two to the Premier League, Garry Monk planned to take things slowly and ease himself into coaching and management. But things didn’t exactly go to plan for the Swans skipper.

Speaking exclusively to UCFB as part of the LMA Insight Series, he said: “I’d planned to go into coaching first or academies, get some experience and then move into management. But it came differently, literally one day I’m a player the next day I’m a manager [at Swansea]!”

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When then-manager Michael Laudrup was sacked half-way through the 2013/14 season, Monk was appointed player-manager on a temporary basis. While this was an enormous step-up for the centre-back, he admits that there was no sudden change in behaviour or treatment of his teammates born from his new title.

Monk said: “It was still about being a club captain. Yes, I have to pick a team and have to plan training for the team, but it was more about being that captain-type of character and bringing everyone together rather than acting like a manager, like ‘I’m the one in charge’. I didn’t act like that at all.”

But it was only at the end of the season, when Monk was offered the role of Swansea manager permanently, that he began to realise the almighty weight of the task he’d taken on and his frightening lack of experience.

He told UCFB: “I learnt a lot, had to learn a lot hour by hour. The wife was two weeks away from giving birth to my twins; being a Premier League manager; having no experience, being a player just before. It was a lot!”

Despite nearly 20 years of professional play across all four divisions, Monk confesses that being a player is nothing like as hard as being a manager. The pressure, the expectation, the brutal criticism only intensifies once you’ve hung up your boots and start dictating who else puts them on.

Monk said: “If results aren’t right and it’s not a good performance, as a player you feel that and have criticism for yourself, but you have 11 or 25 guys that share that criticism with you. As a manager, it’s all on you. Fan bases and social media and media, the whole blame is on the manager. It’s your responsibility.”

He added: “As a player when you’ve won a game, often that jubilation of winning can last across that weekend and even into the following week until the next game. Whereas as a manager, more often than not when you win it’s just about relief.”

For all the difficulty and scrutiny of being a Premier League manager, Monk’s first Premier League game officially in charge saw Swansea secure their first, and only ever, win at Old Trafford. Not a bad start for someone with no managerial experience.