Nathan Jones is going from strength to strength in charge of Luton Town which poses the question why he could not make it work in the Stoke City hotseat.
Jones took charge for a brief period in the second half of the 2018/19 season followed by the opening exchanges of the 2019/20 before being relieved of his duties and replaced by Michael O’Neill. It was a cut-throat decision and there were signs that Jones was improving Stoke however lofty expectations after a busy summer transfer window saw his points record fall below par.
Ryan Shawcross offered his insight on where it went wrong in his StokeonTrentLive column.
He said: “He was more about the process and style and his beliefs that had served him very well. He’s right that how you play affects the results but I’ve also played under managers where it’s been all about winning and principles have been sacrificed at times. He was trying to change the club when the priority is always points.”
Shawcross is currently applying his trade with MLS franchise Inter Miami after his career trajectory took a significant dip upon relegation from the Premier League. Jones’ Hatters finished two places above the Potters last season, demonstrating his undoubted class as a manager at this level.
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Jones deserved more time at the bet365 Stadium and was a victim of unrealistic expectations. For Shawcross to over-simplify the reasons for his failure to be a lack of desire to win games is pretty laughable.
Michael O’Neill’s reign has been the first where the Potters have shown any kind of patience with a manager and a project, since dropping into the second tier, such that was needed with Jones. It will be interesting to see which club comes out on top in the race for the top six this season with both looking the strongest they have been in a very long time. The Hatters go in as narrow favourites at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.