Thomas Frank will lock horns with his 66-year-old role model Marcelo Bielsa on Sunday admitting he is unlikely to be still in the game at the same age.
The 48-year-old Dane will take his Brentford side to Bielsa’s Leeds on Sunday full of admiration for one of the game’s most vaunted coaches, but acutely aware of the demands on Premier League managers.
Asked if he saw himself still being in football at 66, he replied: “If you ask me now, I would say no.
“I love this game, I feel very privileged to be part of it. I love the job I have every single day and I’d like to carry on as long as possible.
“It’s no secret that I love it in the Premier League, it’s fantastic to be part of that circus – mostly on the pitch, not that much on the media circus but it’s part of it.
“But that’s a long way out in the future. I know I will never just lie back and do nothing because I can’t sit still for that long, but maybe, maybe not as a head coach or a manager because it’s a tough job when you put everything into it.
“But you never know, maybe I’ll be sitting here in 18 years.”
Frank, who guided the Bees into the top flight at the end of last season, cites Bielsa as a major influence on his career and is also an admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Roy Hodgson for both their quality and longevity.
However, a chat with former England boss Hodgson, then in charge at Crystal Palace during a reserve team game proved sobering for the younger man.
Frank said: “I asked him, ‘Do you still get irritated or can you keep your head? Are you more relaxed now?’, and he said, ‘No, it’s still the same’, and I was just a little bit, ‘Ahhh. Okay, so I need to carry on with this passion and this energy’.
“That’s the thing. You don’t lose that passion, you don’t lose that if a player does something stupid or you’re losing a game or… that’s what drives them and I admire that a lot.”