Wigan Supremo Admits Roberto Mistake

Sunday, 27 April 2008, 8:07
1 min read

The man who first brought Roberto to the UK back in 1995, believed that his former midfield supremo was too nice to be a manager despite advising him to take the job at Swansea just over twelve months ago.

And with the Swans now in the second tier of English football – Whelan believes that he has what it takes now to take Swansea into the Premier League and maybe a meeting on the pitch is not out of the question.

Whelan told the News of the World "Roberto has transformed Swansea City and taken League One by storm.  There's no doubt he's got the ability to manage in the Premier League one day.  What he's achieved in first full season as a manager is remarkable and he's done it playing football.

"I'm so happy for Roberto but I wasn't sure he was cut out for management.  Managers shout and bawl and jump up and down.  I could never see him doing that.  I did wonder if he was tough enough for the job because he's such a gentleman.  Roberto is nice to everybody, honest and down to earth.

"He's a hell of a nice guy.  My wife, Pat, thinks the world of him.  She made sure I sent him a congratulations card after they won promotion.  Roberto came up to Wigan to see me when Swansea offered him the job.  I told him to give it a go because he knows the game inside out but I did worry he would be too nice.

"But he's obviously got that ruthless streak.  You don't finish top of the league without having that.  When you move up a level you've got to strengthen and bring in new players.   The Championship is a good standard and next season will be a big test for Roberto.

"The board has got to back him in the summer.  Good young managers are few and far between and when you have one, you've got to keep hold of him.  It might take three or four years but it would be brilliant to see Swansea in the Premier League.  It's about time Wales had a team in the top flight."

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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