Idiakez was the ‘outstanding candidate’ for Luton vacancy

Inigo Idiakez oversees his first Luton U18s game
Inigo Idiakez oversees his first Luton U18s game

Former Derby and Southampton midfielder Inigo Idiakez was the ‘outstanding candidate’ to take the role of professional development phase lead coach at Kenilworth Road this week according to first team boss Nathan Jones.

The 43-year-old former Real Sociedad and Oviedo player, who has coached at Derby and Leicester, will now oversee Town’s U18s after Paul Driver left at the end of last season.

We think we’ve got, one, a wonderful coach, but two, someone with real good pedigree.

Nathan Jones

On his arrival, Jones said: “He’s vastly experienced, especially as a player, he was a fantastic footballer for Derby and Southampton and obviously played in Spain.

“We went through the interview process after Paul Driver left and he was the outstanding candidate.

“It was quite thorough, we had two occasions when we interviewed groups of people.

“We interviewed one group, couldn’t find one, and Inigo was a little bit of a later one coming in.

“We think we’ve got, one, a wonderful coach, but two, someone with real good pedigree.

“People know him as he’s done all his badges, myself and Sheez (Alan Sheehan) have played against him.

“I knew him as part of Nigel Pearson’s staff, I’ve got a close relationship with some of Nigel’s staff anyway, Chris Powell, so they spoke very highly of Inigo.

“He comes with an excellent pedigree, and we’re very pleased.

“It’s a little bit of a different coup, and we’re getting a bit a bit of a Spanish contingent here at the minute.”

Meanwhile, Idiakez, who enjoyed a 2-0 EFL Youth Alliance Cup win over Plymouth during his first game in charge, was thrilled to take the role at Luton with their policy of bringing through young players such as James Justin.

He added: “When the job came up it was one that really excited me because of the reputation Luton Town have in English football for producing young talent.

“I see it as a really good opportunity for me to develop the excellent youngsters already here and prepare players for Nathan.

“He’s a top manager and we share similar philosophies on how the game should be played, plus the connection from when he spent time playing in Spain.

“I’ve also got the link with Joaquin Gomez, who worked with us at Derby, and I know Paul Hart well, so I’m looking forward to working with such good people who have so much knowledge of the game.

“I was in charge of U12s to U16s at Leicester, but managed the U16s. It was a great experience and there were several players who are now coming through to be senior players, like Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes, who has been out on loan in the Championship.

“My hope is to get to work with the talented young players at Luton and do similar things here.

“I know this is a Category 3 academy at the moment, but the aspiration is there to progress quickly.

“Hopefully I can bring my experience to that process. I can’t wait to get started.”