Kevin Kilbane has said not even World Cup preparation could keep him away from Belfast this week.
The former Republic of Ireland international has landed a fantasy role as a television pundit in Brazil, but has the small matter of his UEFA Pro Licence to advance on before his summer in South America.
“It’s a really intense course,” said the ex-Everton and Hull City left-back.
“We started in May last year and we won’t complete it until October. Even though everyone else is already understandably getting excited about the World Cup, I’m in Belfast for a really heavy week of learning at the top end of football education.”
Kilbane, who behind Robbie Keane and Shay Given is the most capped player for the Republic, is determined to put a shift in to earn the highest level badge.
“I was coaching for a year at Hull, while still playing but I was injured for most of it. I went to play at Coventry in 2012, by which time I had started my B licence – while on loan to Huddersfield - but I had to accept my playing days were over.
“So I was pleased I had started coaching. I did the A licence, and, with a year’s experience with the reserves at Hull, Nigel [Best] rang me about the Pro.”
It may be the zenith of coaching, but Irish FA performance manager Nigel Best runs a tight ship, ensuring it is more like a school cramming session than a summer camp.
Kilbane, who is on the course alongside Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson and Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton, added: “It’s like school, there’s so much coursework and that’s really where you have to focus.
“Would I like a crack at a top job? Of course, but perhaps I’m not ready for it yet.
“I’m very good friends with David Weir, who had 12 games at Sheffield United before he was sacked. When you have that first job and it’s gone quickly,”