By LEWIS BIRRELL
Steve Jones always knew Stephen Robinson would have a successful career in management – even when they were teammates.
Robinson overhauled the Fir Park playing squad last summer as he recruited 14 new players and axed fan favourites in the process.
The 43-year-old was vindicated as he went on to lead the club to both domestic cup finals for the first time since 1952.
Jones played alongside Robinson in Northern Ireland squads and could see his managerial potential from an early age.
He said: “When you’re a player, you know exactly who’s going to make it as a coach or manager.
“He was demanding on the pitch and already acting like a manager so you knew he’d go on to have a good career after playing.
“He was great at decision making and a very good talker which are important characteristics for management.
“He obviously has the respect of his players at Motherwell. That’s really important to be a good manager.
“I played for Motherwell briefly and have quite a few friends in Scotland who all say he’s doing a really good job.”
Jones also believes that his former teammate can progress his career on to the international stage.
He added: “If he keeps doing as good a job at Motherwell, people will look at his future and he could be there for the taking.
“I don’t see why he couldn’t take over the Northern Ireland job one day. He definitely has a bright future in the game so I wouldn’t say no to him managing internationally.”
*Also published in the Sunday Mail print edition*