Looking back, it's almost inevitable that Steve McNamara would end up being a coach.
His love of league was founded on the back of watching his dad, who was a coach of coaches, so not only was he excited by the prospect of playing the game, he saw first hand the work that went into preparing others for playing competitively.
On this week's Super League Super Stars, England coach McNamara goes right back to his roots in rugby league, talking about his first club Skirlaugh ARLFC.
From there he signed for the team he idolised, Hull FC, and here, again, he came into close contact with another influential coach...Brian Smith.
After his playing days then, it's not surprising that he segued into coaching, becoming assistant at Bradford during the club's heady years in Super League, before taking the top job when Brian Noble left for Wigan.
For a while he combined those duties with assistant coach duties with England, under Smith's brother Tony, another big influence.
One of the steepest learning curves in his time within the international set-up was the 2008 World Cup, in Australia; the tour was dogged by talk of a split in the camp, between the Leeds and St Helens players.
It led to a restructure in approach by the England coaching team, and when Steve took over the head coach role full time, he drove ahead with a 'two-club mentality' approach, instilling into the team the belief that there is no conflict between club and country loyalties. They play for two teams with equal pride and commitment.
As part of his research, he spoke to senior figures in other sports, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Stuart Pearce and Roy Hodgson, and it was the latter's experiences in coaching the Switzerland team which had a real resonance.
Steve's own commitment to the game shines through in this interview, never shirking the difficult questions about England's ranking in world rugby league, keen to address issues that might be misunderstood.
He's an accomplished communicator, and as his three-year contract comed to its latter stages, he's determined to hammer a message home - England have every chance of being on top of the world come the autumn.
Super League Superstars Friday, at 1am on Sky Sports 3 HD.