"Maybe my leadership can be a bit raw. It's something I've had to improve on"
For years, Aidan O'Shea has been Mayo's leader by example.
The only difference now is that their totem of power and consistency, their beating heart and driving force, has the title to go along with it too.
It's hard to believe that in 11 years on the Mayo panel and after more than 130 appearances in the green and red, that O'Shea hasn't yet led his county for a whole campaign. But he captained Ireland in the 2017 International Rules series and at the beginning of the 2020 season, James Horan honoured the Breaffy man with the Mayo captaincy.
"It was probably something I wasn't expecting at this stage," says O'Shea as AIB's The Toughest Trade re-airs on Virgin Media this Monday.
"I'm a little bit older. I thought James would go a different direction. When he asked me, I was obviously delighted. I've been lucky enough to captain Breafy, Connacht to a Railway Cup and obviously captained Ireland a couple of years ago. So it was something I hadn't done and would have been disappointed at the end of my career if I didn't get to do it..."
"As a young fella and even now, I'm more determined than ever to try and win. Sometimes that boils over for me being a bit aggressive and maybe my leadership can be a bit raw.
"It's probably something I've had to reflect on and improve on. I probably wouldn't have been asked to be captain this year if I didn't adjust a little bit in terms of that. Just knowing when is the right time to press those buttons."
It will certainly be no harm that the 29-year-old is studying a leadership diplima in IMI and he admits that he's consciously working to improve himself in that real.
"But I think if you're given that leadership role, you've got to assess how you are about the place, how you interact with people and just maybe spend a bit more time getting to understand your team-mates on a kind of greater level than just football. That's something that I'm trying to do. I'm studying a leadership diploma out of the IMI and just trying to learn. There's always opportunities to learn in terms of leadership, and I'm all ears."
"The first thing I’ve learnt about leadership is you can’t try and be someone else.
"You can’t try and be Michael Jordan, whether it’s captain we’ve had I can’t try and be Cillian (O’Connor) or Alan Dillon – I’ve got to try and be myself.
There’s no point in trying to conform to something you’re not.
"Something that is big for me and that I probably struggled with throughout my career is that trust level and building trust and not being afraid to show vulnerability is important for me.
"It’s something I’ve tried to work on big time over the last 18 months. It has helped me as a person and a teammate."
As for the Toughest trade, O'Shea admits that his speed off the mark was some way off the NFL standards but he none-the-less enjoyed his time in America.
While the performance centres were an eye-opener for O'Shea, he felt his athletic abilites stood up to the test at the Regional combines - where his competitors didn't have the same level of paid preparation.
"I went over after the first League game and I probably wasn't at my fittest, if I'm being straight. In terms of my off the mark speed, I'm not going to be breaking any records or matching these guys."
"I was delighted I did it. I'd be looking back with regrets if I didn't do it, that somebody else was taking my place and got to experience what I did. On top of that, before I went over, I didn't know I was going to get to see Pádraig Carney. That was pretty special.
"Unfortunately he's passed away since and delighted I got that opportunity [to meet him], that would never have happened if I didn't take this chance to go. I look back on it with fond memories."
Monday, May 25th, 2020: AIB, proud sponsors of both Club and County, announced today alongside Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea that they will be re-releasing their much talked about GAA series ‘The Toughest Trade’ on Virgin Media Television this summer.