At 23, Sunderland winger James McClean may well believe he has little time to waste, but one day -- maybe when he enters his dotage around the age of 27 or so -- he will be grateful that Martin O'Neill was around when he seemed hell-bent on throwing at least some of it away.
His other good fortune is that if he is plainly a head-strong Derry man, he does occasionally show an instinct to take a peek at himself. This is a process that O'Neill is always quick to encourage, as was I, who shaped his career.
Occasionally, I resorted to some extreme measures, as Roy Keane remembers so vividly when he talks about the time his reward for a poor performance was a punch in the face.
So far O'Neill is working on the possibilities of some gentle humour and the odd ironic barb.
Good on him!