Some individuals are born to be great players, others are born to coach and manage, but there are a few that reach the highest-level in both roles.

John Toshack is one such man. During an illustrious playing career that lasted two decades, the striker achieved domestic and European success with Liverpool, and played 40 games for Cymru throughout the 1970's. His opportunity to move into management arrived early as he took charge of Swansea City as player-manager in 1978, and another four decades in the dugout followed.

As the partner of Kevin Keegan in attack for Liverpool, Toshack claimed three league titles, the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his time at Anfield. As a manager, he delivered immediate success at Swansea City, taking the club through the Football League to the top-flight between 1978 and 1981 in a story that remains part of club folklore and his celebrated to this day by those who used to stand on the North Bank of the old Vetch Field.

But that success was only the start for Toshack, his managerial career over the course of the next 40 years has taken him around Europe and the world. Two spells in-charge of Real Madrid, where he won the La Liga title in 1990, headlines his CV, but it is his work as Cymru manager between 2004 and 2010 that his now celebrated even though results and performances saw him scorned at the time. Toshack made the decision to expose the next generation to the harsh realities of international football ahead of their years, and successors Gary Speed, Chris Coleman and now Ryan Giggs have benefited from his vision.

Now 71, Toshack's last managerial post was with Iranian club Tractor SC in 2018. Prior to that he found himself in Morocco with Wydad Casablanca, in Azerbaijan with Khazar Lankaran, and before that he was in-charge of the Macedonian national team. “I’ve never had a problem anywhere,” said Toshack last year ahead of the launch of his autobiography. “Wherever you go you have to learn the language and the culture as best you can. And then, if you make mistakes, people tend to make allowances. I think one of the best things I did was go on my own. I worked with the clubs’ people, and they knew I was receptive.”

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