'The real deal' 10 years on - David Moyes at Everton
David Moyes will have related to the plight of a young manager wrestling to imprint his philosophy on a dressing room populated with experienced and powerful personalities as Andre Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea.
Moyes faced the same dilemma when he walked into Everton's Bellefield training headquarters a decade ago - just hours after owner Bill Kenwright took him from the Championship and Preston North End to a battle for Premier League survival.
While 34-year-old Villas-Boas failed to last 10 months at Chelsea, Moyes - four years older when he arrived at Goodison Park - is celebrating 10 years in charge and his stock as a managerial commodity has rarely been higher.
There is only one chance to make a first impression and Moyes was inheriting a squad from Walter Smith that contained senior figures such as Duncan Ferguson, David Weir, Kevin Campbell, Alan Stubbs, David Unsworth, Thomas Gravesen - plus the maverick and soon-to-be-elsewhere talents of David Ginola and Paul Gascoigne.
David Moyes was appointed Everton manager in 2002. Photo: PA
Moyes, however, made an instant and lasting impact that saw him win the respect of his squad and start a time in charge that is regarded by many within the game as the template for over-achievement on a limited budget.
Unsworth got the Moyes reign off to a flying start with a goal 26 seconds into his first game at home to Fulham and he outlines why the Scot was the perfect man for Everton in 2002 - and should be for the next 10 years.
He told BBC Sport: "I am a Preston lad so I'd heard all about what he'd done there before he got to us, having lost the Championship play-off final to Bolton the previous season. You have to remember he was a very young manager walking into what was a senior dressing room at that time with the thought of relegation suddenly rearing its ugly head again.
"I'll always remember it. I was usually one of the first into training because I would do the school run and go straight in. Of course we were all wondering what the new guy would be like.
"It was a Friday and he'd been appointed on the Thursday night. I drove in and looked out of the window and there he was at 8.30am, standing out on the training ground on his own. All the training was set up, mannequins, poles and cones all out. He greeted us coming out on to the training pitch and told us what a great opportunity this was for him at a fantastic club.
"He had come through the divisions alongside Fulham with Preston so there was no big speech, just an introduction and then information. He knew all about Fulham from their days under Kevin Keegan and Jean Tigana, gave us a thorough rundown about how we were going to play and how we would beat Fulham - which we then did.
"It was very impressive and all the lads looked at each other in the changing rooms afterwards and agreed we'd got the real deal here. If you walk into a dressing room like that it can be hard to win respect but he did it right away."
Everton had not so much flirted with relegation but threatened a full-blown embrace with the drop in previous seasons - but under Moyes there has been European football and the one season that brought almost miraculous qualification for the Champions League after Wayne Rooney's sale to Manchester United.
"He did it all himself at the start as well," said Unsworth. "He didn't appoint an assistant although he worked with Andy Holden. He took the lot on to show us he could do it and maybe also to show himself he could do it. He is just an outstanding manager."
Moyes does not have prizes to show for his time at Everton but he has the respect of his peers after being voted Manager of the Year three times. He has reached one FA Cup Final, which he lost to Chelsea in 2009, but has presided over a period of well-being for Everton in the Premier League despite not being provided with serious financial muscle.
The Scot has cut a rejuvenated figure since a January transfer deadline day which brought Rangers' Nikica Jelavic to Goodison Park from Rangers in a £5.5m deal, the return of the highly-influential Steven Pienaar in a loan deal from Tottenham and a deserved victory over then Premier League leaders Manchester City at Goodison Park.
Moyes will aim for his first win at Anfield as the perfect anniversary present when Everton face Liverpool on Tuesday, while Wembley is on the radar once more with a home FA Cup quarter-final against Sunderland.
Unsworth returned to Everton's training ground at Finch Farm recently and revealed: "The place was just buzzing and Moyesy was the same driven, focused person on that day as he was 10 years ago. Let me tell you if you're not doing it for him, either on the training ground or in games, you certainly know about it. There is no messing or pussy-footing around. He instils his own work ethic and players trust him.
"If you want a word to sum him up it is 'focus'. He has incredible attention to detail but one thing people may not realise is that he is a manager who is also a fantastic coach. A lot of credit must go to Bill Kenwright for appointing a 38-year-old at what was becoming a dangerous situation for us at that time.
"I still talk to players such as Leon Osman and Alan Stubbs, who is on the staff there now, and they say he is still the same - out there on the training ground every single day driving people."
Moyes' name has been linked to the Chelsea job vacated by Villas-Boas, with strong talk that he may be Spurs' chosen one should Harry Redknapp take over as England coach.
None of this surprises Unsworth who said: "The Chelsea job has come up, there has been that speculation about Spurs with Harry tipped for England and you have the possibility of jobs at Arsenal and Manchester United coming up in the next few years.
"These jobs are now starting to bubble under. I have been in football 20 years and I would be very surprised if all four clubs do not have David Moyes near the top of their list."
Lifelong Evertonian Unsworth would love to see Moyes remain at his current club and does not under-estimate the importance of the club providing the platform for him to take them forward.
"Everton's biggest signing for the next 10 years will be David Moyes if Bill can get him to stay," he said. "He is that important and has been from the day he walked in."