SAM Collins has revealed he has ambitions to become a manager one day.
But the experienced Hartlepool United centre-half isn’t ready to hang up his playing boots just yet.
The 36-year-old, who turns 37 next month, is currently considering the offer of a new contract from the Sky Bet League Two club to prolong his playing career into a 20th year.
Yet he already knows what he wants to do once he does finally call it a day after a career spanning three decades, and that is to go into management.
Pontefract-born Collins just needs to complete his UEFA A-licence before he has all the qualifications in place for his next career move.
He will be well placed to take the plunge after learning the ropes from several managers over his career - including six gaffers during his six seasons at Pools.
Collins has played under Danny Wilson, Chris Turner, Mick Wadsworth, Neale Cooper, John Hughes and current boss Colin Cooper, who he rates highly.
“I have ambitions of becoming a manager myself,” Collins told SportMail.
“That is what I want to do somewhere down the line and I just want to keep getting the experience and learning and listening and then when the time does come, make sure that I am fully prepared because that is what I want to do.
“I just have to get my A licence finished and then I will have everything that I need then, that is the plan at least.
“Doing the qualifications has been a lot of hard work because I have a wife and four children at home and along with playing and helping out with the reserves but playing football is all I have done since being a little kid and it is what I love more than anything else.
“I just want to keep doing it for as long as possible.”
While he is still very much an integral part of the first-team picture at Pools, playing arguably some of his finest football in the latter months of the season, he has also been helping out with the reserve team at Pools.
He was approached last summer to get more involved with the second string when the new management team of manager Colin Cooper and his assistant Craig Hignett, who has since departed for neighbours Middlesbrough, took over at Victoria Park.
It is a role he has enjoyed and he said it has given him a different perspective on the game he loves to play.
Collins told SportMail: “I have loved helping out with the younger players at the club.
“When I spoke with the gaffer and Craig [Hignett] at the start of the season they gave me the opportunity to help out, to get on board and think about things a little differently.
“A lot of the time you are a bit single-minded as a player but when you go to the other side you have to start thinking ‘right, how do I help develop other people’.
“It has been brilliant and I have loved every minute of it.”