CARL Robinson was a combative midfielder who played 52 internationals for Wales before turning to coaching and quickly earning a reputation for getting the best out players and teams.
On Saturday, Robinson kicks off a new era at the Newcastle Jets when he takes the reins for the first time against Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium.
The 43-year-old is the second foreigner, behind inaugural boss Richard Money, to head the club and takes over full-time from Ernie Merrick.
Merrick propelled the Jets to the 2017-18 grand final in his maiden season. However, the veteran coach was sacked in January after a form slump culminating in a 4-0 thumping to Melbourne Victory after which CEO Lawrie McKinna said the squad had become "stale" .
Robinson steered the Vancouver Whitecaps to the play-offs three times during his five-year stint at the helm of the Major League Soccer club in the USA and has made no secret of his desire for success at the Jets.
"I have moved from the other side of the world because I genuinely believe I can make a difference and help the Newcastle Jets ... bigger picture and longer term is for a championship," Robinson said.
Robinson's first task is to lift the Jets off the bottom of the ladder.
He watched from the stands as interim coach Craig Deans guided his new-side to a 4-3 win over the Mariners before hitting the ground on Monday.
Since then the vocal, hands-on mentor has been putting his stamp on the side.
"Carl has brought a bit of intensity this week," midfielder Angus Thurgate said. "The boys are looking to impress him. That is the first thing that happens, the intensity at training lifts. We have to carry that into the game.
"Hopefully, we can all gel well together and use that energy to put in a good performance and get three points."
Robinson has simplified the Jets' game plan and rammed home the importance of "doing your job in the team".
Thurgate finds himself in a new starting position after impressing off the bench in place on injured holding midfielder Ben Kantarovski (quadriceps) in the derby.
The 20-year-old has played in a more advanced role for the majority of his 32 A-League appearances and started as a striker when Abdiel Arroyo was injured earlier in the season.
"I definitely feel more comfortable in midfield than up front," Thurgate said.
"I feel like Steve [Ugarkovic] and I work well together. I probably bring a bit more of an attacking sense than Kanta brings. Kanta does a great job in his defensive duties. I can keep looking to build on that."
Thurgate is the only change to the XI that did the job against the Mariners.
Keeper Glen Moss is back in full training but will return on the bench and Wes Hoolahan is still working his way to full fitness.
While happy with the four goals the Jets netted against the Mariners, Robinson was far from impressed with the three goals conceded.
"The coaches were happy with it but then again they had things they wanted to improve and change," Thurgate said. "He gave us an expectation that he doesn't want to us concede from set pieces."
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