Ex-Manchester United midfielder Ince remembers how Luton chief Jones was always determined to be top of the class

Royals chief happy his former class-mate is in the Championship play-offs

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:34 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones celebrates reaching the play-offs with his daughter
Hatters boss Nathan Jones celebrates reaching the play-offs with his daughter

Reading interim boss Paul Ince recalled just how much Nathan Jones’ determination to succeed shone through when the pair were studying for their coaching badges earlier in their careers.

Ince, who played for Manchester United, West Ham and Liverpool, also winning 53 caps for England, was a colleague of Jones as they completed their UEFA A Licence and Pro Licence before getting into management.

Having faced off against each other at the weekend at Kenilworth Road, Jones coming out on top with a 1-0 victory that secured Luton’s place in the top six of the Championship, Ince, although obviously disappointed to finish the Royals season with defeat, spoke highly on just how much the Town chief wanted to make the most of their time in the classroom.

He said: “We were the best team (in the second half), couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, we had some chances, but I’m so, so pleased for Nathan.

“We go back a long way, we did our Pro Licence and A Licence together, they’ve shown togetherness and what you can achieve if you stick together and have the spirit.

"He was the one in the class who kept putting his hand up, I was looking at him, saying ‘come on Nathan, give us a chance!’

“It would be a two hour class and he’d make it two and a half hours as he kept asking questions, but credit to him.

"If I ever wanted someone to get to the play-offs, it would be Luton.

"Our team, I’m disappointed we didn't win the game, but pleased for Nathan he got where he was as he's done an unbelievable job.”

The only goal of the game came in first half stoppage time when Harry Cornick hid behind Reading keeper Orjan Nyland and once the Norwegian had dropped the ball to clear, proceed to steal it from him and find the empty net.

Ince backed the ex-Aston Villa and Norwich stopper, who signed a short term deal in March, to bounce back from his mistake, adding: “I’m just glad it wasn’t a game we had to get something from.

“To be fair to him, he made a wonderful save in the second half, tipped one on to the bar, but it’s just the defining moments of the game.

“Me, myself, I've seen enough back in the day, these things happen but you just don't want them to happen to you or to your goalkeeper.

“It’s something he’ll get over, he’s a big, strong lad.

"He’ll be devastated, obviously, yes it’s a mistake, because you always look over your shoulder, but I was fine with him.

“He kept us in the game the second half, overall it's one of those things.

“I’m just glad we didn't have to win the game or draw the game, and that’s a credit to the players, credit to the club, to the fans, who have stuck with us and even second half, we played ever so well.”