Leon Britton is relishing his new role at Swansea City having accepted the chance to join Paul Clement’s coaching staff.
But the Swans legend has stressed that his new position off the field does not signal the end of his playing career.
Britton has been named player-assistant coach at the Liberty Stadium, and will fill the space on the staff which was previously occupied by Claude Makelele.
And the 35-year-old is full of pride as he starts life as a coach at the club he has served with distinction across 15 years as a player.
“I am delighted. To have this opportunity is a massive moment for me and my family,” Britton said.
“I spoke to the manager, the chairman and to my family and decided it was an opportunity I should definitely take.
“I am grateful to the manager and to the chairman for having the belief in my ability to put me in this role.
“The manager has worked at some of the biggest clubs in world football – he has a vast knowledge of coaching.
“It’s great for me to have the chance to lean on him and to look at what he does every day behind the scenes and how he goes about his business.”
The Swans moved to hand Britton a place on the staff after Makelele, who had been one of Clement’s assistant coaches, left South Wales last week to take over at Belgian club Eupen.
Swans manager Clement still sees Britton the player as an important part of his plans, but the midfielder’s new job will see him involved on a matchday even if he is not on the pitch.
“It’s not the end of my playing career,” Britton said.
“I will still be training every day and will be up for selection.
“But I will also be in staff meetings and looking to prepare for games from the coaching side.
“I will train as long as I am fit, but my days will start a lot earlier. I will try to be that link between the players and the staff, which is very important I think.”
Britton admits the timing of his move into coaching is a “bit of a surprise” given that Makelele’s Swans exit was not expected.
But the fans’ favourite began preparing for life in the dugout some time ago.
“Coaching has always been in my thoughts,” Britton said.
“Once you pass 30 and people start writing you off as a player, you start thinking about what you will do after football.
“Coaching is something I have enjoyed, whether it be working with the academy or on my coaching courses.
“I feel I have a good knowledge and understanding of the game having worked under lots of different and very good managers.
“I would like to think that I can use that experience and put it to good use as part of the coaching staff.
“It’s a big advantage that I know all the players well. I have been on the pitch with them – I know their qualities and their characters.
“I know everyone involved in the club and how things work here. I have to use that to my advantage.”