McManaman surprised Hatters boss has only just become a number one

New Luton signing Callum McManaman declared his surprise that Graeme Jones is only now taking his first steps into management with the Hatters.

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 22nd June 2019, 7:30 am
Graeme Jones in his days as a number two to Roberto Martinez
Graeme Jones in his days as a number two to Roberto Martinez

Unlike any of Town’s squad, the winger has already had an insight into just how Jones is, as the pair were at Wigan together between 2009-13.

Then Jones was a number two to Roberto Martinez, as he spent the next decade with the Belgian at Swansea, Everton and then the Belgium national team.

He continued in his role, albeit with Darren Moore, at West Bromwich Albion last season, before being persuaded to take sole charge when offered the top job at Kenilworth Road.

McManaman said: “I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had a lot of offers to be manager over the years.

“He’s probably just thought this is the right move for him now.

“He’s been with Belgium, been with West Brom, now he’s got his own way, I think this is the perfect time for him.

“He’s got the belief that he’s picked the right club.”

On whether he always felt Jones had the ability to take the role by himself on, McManaman who won the FA Cup while at Wigan in 2013, said: “Yes, he’s very hands on.

“Even when was assistant manager, he’d get involved with the lads more and if something needed to be said, he would say it, straight up and say it to your face.

“That helps massively, so you always knew he was going to be a manager at some stage, definitely.”

After enjoying two seasons of success with back-to-back promotions and playing some wonderful football under firstly Nathan Jones and then Mick Harford, McManaman believe Town fans can expect that to continue with the new Jones at the helm.

He said: “Definitely, it’s the only way he knows how to play.

“He goes out to win games, we won’t be sitting back trying to nick a lead, it will be taking it to teams, so that’s what I’m looking forward to getting involved in.

“I’ve seen how well they did last season, everyone I spoke to before I signed said they played some good stuff, played good football, it will suit your style, so it was a no-brainer for me really.”

Another thing that the former West Bromwich and Sunderland wideman is looking forward to experiencing is the boisterous Kenilworth Road crowd.

McManaman has played at the stadium before, missing a penalty for the Baggies in a Checkatrade Trophy tie back in October 2016, so is ready to make some better memories.

He added: I haven’t played Luton for a few years, but I played a reserve game a few years ago, for West Brom.

“I remember going to the stadium, and I remember the atmosphere, it was only a small crowd, but the atmosphere was good for that.

“Obviously for a league game in the Championship, I’m guessing it’s going to be bouncing every week.

“I’ve never played for a club down south as well, so I’m really looking forward to that