Tate arrived at Swansea at pretty much the same time as the now Swansea manager and fought with him as the Swans battled to remain in the football league. They then both shared a promotion experience from League Two as well as the heartache of a play off final defeat just twelve months later. And while this hasn’t been the best season of Tate’s career, the defender is enjoying life at the top of League One as much as anyone.
It now seems to be a case of when rather than if the Swans seal promotion and there are already rumours surfacing that Tate has signed an extension to his deal to stay at the Liberty Stadium. Rumours that are unconfirmed at the moment.
However, he has nothing but praise for his manager and told the Wales on Sunday that he always knew he would be a success but few could have envisaged just how much and so soon. 44 league games have passed since the appointment and with 94 points achieved in that period, Roberto is on target to do 100 points within his first 46 games – a record that not too many of his peers can manage.
“All the lads knew he was destined to get into management,” said Tate in today’s paper
“So it didn’t surprise us when his name started cropping up when people talked about who would be coming in.
“I think the only thing that made some of us think it might not happen was that he was still playing at Chester at the time and we all knew how much he loved to pull his boots on.
“But he must have felt it was the right time and the right club to give all that up because he hasn’t looked back.
“And you can’t argue that he didn’t make the right choice because his record just speaks for itself.
“We could all see he had what it took to be involved but even saying that, I don’t know if anyone could have predicted he would have done so well so early. It wasn’t in anyone’s wildest dreams for us to make the play-offs last year the way we were going but we came one game from doing it.
“Now you look at us and we’re clear at the top and a game away from a Wembley final. You can’t really argue with those stats.
“There’s always been a lot of talent in the squads here and Roberto’s added to that,” insisted Tate. “But I think he’s helped that along with his training.
“He was always big on training when he was a player, taking a big interest in what we were doing or weren’t doing.
“After sessions he’d be taking notes when we’d be off doing something else and that’s paying dividends.
“I’m not sure people outside the club would have necessarily known that; hence the surprise when he arrived here to take over from Kenny.
“But now you can sense the excitement of what he’s brought on board and he has a good couple of coaches behind him.
“Graeme Jones and Colin Pascoe have big roles and Bonner (Jones) is probably the more outspoken one and can really rip into people when it’s needed.
“But Roberto has gone mad a few times too; you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of it.
“We heard the things of him being too nice but there’s a public persona of everyone which is usually wrong.
“He wouldn’t have had a playing career as long as he did if he didn’t have a nasty streak in him. What comes out on the pitch or on the training field is one thing, but the real person is inside. We wouldn’t be where we are if Roberto couldn’t tell us when we are going wrong in no uncertain times and if you’re not cutting it then, rest assured, he lets us know.”