Luton boss Graeme Jones believes he has signed winger Callum McManaman at the ‘perfect moment’ in his career.
The 28-year-old put pen to paper at Kenilworth Road yesterday, becoming Jones’ first signing since being appointed in charge of the Hatters.
Speaking about his first addition, Jones, who worked with McManaman when assistant to Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic earlier in his career. said: “I’m delighted, I think he is the type of player that when he gets a really good pre-season under his belt, that Luton Town supporters will really enjoy watching.
“For me he’s got a mixture of natural talent, he’s incredible one v ones and he’s a tough boy.
“West Brom signed him for 4.75 million pounds just over four years ago, he’s played 150-plus games in the Premier League and Championship, he’s 28 years old, which is the best moment of his career and I’m absolutely thrilled to have him at Luton Town.
"I think we’ve signed a player at the perfect moment in his career.
"I think he’s mature, he’s getting married next summer, so a lot of things have changed since I worked with him back in 2013.
“He’s somebody that plays on the edge, he can look after himself, he works for the team.
"I think playing in the position that I’ve got in mind for him, we’ll all reap the rewards.”
On just where that role in the side might be, Jones continued: “Anywhere across the front, the 10, any of the two striker positions, I like his flexibility within a game as he can play out wide as he’s definitely an attacking player.
“It’s natural talent with him. He needs to understand he’s 28 now and he needs to look after himself in terms of preparation, working in the gym and we need to train smart to get him through pre-season.
"He’s got no bio-mechanical issues, so I’m really, really hopeful for Callum.”
McManaman’s attributes are well known to the Luton chief from their days at the DW Stadium when the attacker broke on to the scene and produced a man of the match display in the Latics’ 1-0 FA Cup final win over Manchester City in 2013.
Jones wants to see more examples of that at Kenilworth Road now, adding: "You need to understand this player. I’ve had the privilege of working with him but Callum knows clearly mine and his human agreement of how things are going forward.
"I’ve kept an eye on his career and Callum used to get wound up for games, he used to care too much.
"I was saying to Roberto one night, 'you want to speak to him and tell him he’s not playing tomorrow.'
"It was against Huddersfield in the sixth round of the cup and Roberto had a word with him, and said to him, 'look Callum you’re not going to start tomorrow.'
"Of course, he was going to start, we put him in the team, he scored and never really looked back.
"Everyone remembers and I certainly remember his man of the match performance against Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final when we won.
"His trickery that day caused Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta massive problems and he was a huge part in us winning the FA Cup.
"He has to reproduce that day, that’s his challenge."