Trundle Hails Influential Martinez
"Roberto was always destined for management," says Trundle.
Roberto Martinez was always destined to become the manager of a top Premier League club.
That’s the view of Everton fan Lee Trundle – a man who played both alongside and under the Spaniard during their time together at Swansea City.
Teammates for three years, the pair helped the Swans begin their ascent up the Football League by securing promotion from League Two in 2004/05.
While Trundle - with 23 goals to his name - was firing the South Wales outfit to a third place finish, club captain Martinez was steering the ship from central midfield.
It was those leadership qualities, coupled with a passion for football, that left Trundle convinced that a career in the dugout was always a likely career path for Martinez once his playing days were over.
“I’m very pleased. As a supporter, it’s a great one for me,” Trundle told evertontv when discussing Martinez’s appointment at Goodison.
“The way he plays football and his knowledge of the game is different class, and I think there are exciting times ahead for us Everton fans.
“As a teammate, I spent a lot of time with Rob off the field. You knew straight away that he was always going to be a manager. All he would talk about was football.
“He would talk about different players from all different leagues in all different countries. With the knowledge he had, you could tell football was his life and it was only a matter of time before he got that job.
“Even when he was a player, he was the type that could lift others with his words. People listened to him when he talked and he was the type of man who everyone respected for what he did on the pitch and how he was as a person.
“When I joined, [Swansea manager] Bryan Flynn spoke to Roberto and he picked me up from the hotel where I was staying. We went out for a bite to eat and a coffee afterwards and he was talking about Swansea as a club.
“He sold it to me as a team that was going places and, to be fair to him, they were. He was a massive part of that.”
Martinez’s time as a Swansea player ended in the summer of 2006 - but a little over six months later he was back at the Liberty Stadium, this time as manager.
Trundle was a still a member of the squad that Martinez inherited upon his return in February 2007.
Now 36, he can recall the way in which the Spaniard evolved from a teammate to his boss.
“Even as a player, he [Martinez] always commanded that respect that you would show a manager, just with the way he was,” Trundle explained.
“Having had banter and with him being one of the lads, it was strange to start calling him 'gaffer' because you are used to him as Rob, your teammate who you had a laugh with.
“Even in training, you could see that he was enjoying the banter but he had to try and distance himself from that a little bit.
“But all the lads had that instant respect for him so as soon as he came in and wanted to set that playing system in place, everyone listened because everyone knew it was the right thing and it was going to help us.”