Luton Town’s players had two famous faces in attendance at training this morning, with former Liverpool legend Sami Hyypia and ex-England international Matthew Upson both in attendance.
The pair are personal friends of Hatters boss Nathan Jones from his time at Brighton & Hove Albion, and were at Ely Way to watch Town’s squad put through their paces ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Solihull Moors.
When asked what their thoughts were on what they had witnessed, Jones said: “We’ve had two celebrities watching training today and the biggest thing they’ve said, was ‘you didn’t have to do much to get them going.’
“And that’s the group they are, they want to defend, they want to work hard, they want to do well. That’s the group I want and I’m delighted to have that.
“I’m quite flattered they want to come in and watch us work too.”
Upson, who has recently retired as a player, came through the ranks at Kenilworth Road, making one appearance for Luton back in August 1996, before a big money move to Arsenal.
I was Sami’s assistant at Brighton, and he’s a very good friend of mine. He’s over visiting Arsene Wenger so he decided to come and watch the mighty Luton as well.Nathan Jones
He went on to play for the likes of Birmingham, West Ham and also the Seagulls, where Jones was coaching, also winning 21 caps for England in that time too.
Jones said: “I worked with Matty at Brighton, and I had a close relationship with him in terms of coach and player.
“We talked a lot about football, how I could help him, I did a lot of work with him. He was a consummate professional and was a wonderful, wonderful player, a player that you want in your side.”
Meanwhile on why Hyypia, who played over 450 times for Liverpool and has managed Bayer Leverkusen, Brighton and most recently FC Zurich, was watching from the sidelines, Jones said: “I was Sami’s assistant at Brighton, and he’s a very good friend of mine. He’s over visiting Arsene Wenger so he decided to come and watch the mighty Luton as well.
“So he’s had a bit of Arsenal, had a bit of Luton and hopefully we compare favourably.
“The thing about Sami is, Matty’s come in and he knows one or two anyway, especially the ones he played with at Brighton but Sami is a real personable guy.
“That’s one of the things I learned from him as a manager, he’ll go round and speaks to everyone, has a bit of time for everyone, it’s brilliant.
“I didn’t have to put him in front of people and he’d say, ‘hi, I’m Sami Hyppia, I’m Finnish’, that’s Finnish, not finished by the way.
“He’s a real good guy, real, real humble person, a top man and a real good friend of mine. That’s why he’s over.”
Jones admitted that he would love to be in a position to select the former Finnish international centre half too, adding: “It would be hard to find him a place in our team, but I’d definitely have a go.
“He was a wonderful, wonderful player and he’s still got it now. We used to have staff football at Brighton and you could tell that he was a top end player, even then, still feisty and very competitive.”