Over the last few years, quite a few former Ireland internationals have stepped into the world of coaching.
Keith Andrews and John O'Shea are currently part of Stephen Kenny's backroom team, while the likes of Damien Duff and Robbie Keane have also held high profile positions.
It is always encouraging when players opt to go down that route, especially when they become involved in the Ireland setup in some way. All of the names mentioned above have done so at some point, as have others such as David Meyler and Dean Kiely.
You would hope that more footballers will go down this route in the future, with one current star taking the steps to do so.
Conor Hourihane takes up new role at Aston Villa
Conor Hourihane is still very much in the midst of his playing career, making 51 appearances for Derby County this season. He is under contract at Pride Park once again next season, although he will be balancing it with a new role.
The Cork native will be taking up a part-time position as a coach with the Aston Villa U16 team. Of course, he knows the club well having been a player there for five seasons.
Speaking on the Southern Stars podcast, Hourihane said he was excited by the prospect of stepping into a new area of the game.
I’m going to be one of a couple of coaches. It’s amazing just to be involved in it.
I’ve got great contacts there still from the time I was there. I was in and out there recently over the summer, and they offered me the job of being involved with the under-16s, and I absolutely jumped at it.
It’ll be great for the experience and to have on my CV going forward. I’m trying to do as much as I can off the pitch to get ready for the transition over the next couple of years.
Conor Hourihane still has plenty in the tank in playing terms and will be looking to lead Derby County back to the Championship having finished just outside the play-off positions this season.
He will also be hoping that this will be the first step in a long and successful coaching career.