3 positives that could come of Nathan Jones' Luton departure.
Yesterday it was confirmed that Luton Town manager Nathan Jones had left the club to uptake a new role at Premier League side Southampton.
After his second stint in charge, to most, Jones has certainly made up for his first departure to Stoke City almost four years ago. Since then, he managed to steer Luton from Championship relegation and turned them into play-off finishers and promotion contenders last season.
Although some may feel betrayed again by Jones' exit, it feels different to last time around as he has taken us to an extraordinary height and Premier League opportunities do not come about every day. He leaves the Hatters as they sit just seven points from the automatic promotion places, and the team he departs is undoubtedly one of the strongest Hatters sides in many years (fans will just have to hope he doesn't steal any players in the next window). Leaving just before the World Cup also gives Gary Sweet plenty of time to find a replacement as Jones pursues his dream of managing in the top flight of English football.
With Jones gone a new era will begin soon as a new manager will be appointed soon. Here is a brief sum-up of some positives that could come of Jones' exit:
1) LOAN PLAYERS
Throughout Nathan Jones' reign at Luton Town, he was adamant about not making loan signings and only made a few when necessary, in the cases he did make these loans, he had the intention of signing these individuals on a permanent deal.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is the most notable loanee Luton have had in the last few seasons, coming from Premier League side Leicester City, the 24-year-old transformed the Hatters' midfield whilst tearing up the Championship. But when it came to the end of his spell, Luton weren't fortunate to sign him, leaving a gap in Nathan Jones' midfield plans.
Nathan Jones publicly stated his frustration about this situation. Understandably Jones can have his own views on loan players but Dewsbury-Hall did what was expected of him and more, helping Luton to achieve Championship status and at the same time Leicester ensured their player was given game time and developed throughout his absence. The loan deal was a key example of what a loan deal should be as both clubs gained something from the situation. Depending on who Luton see arrive as new manager this tradition for trying to avoid loan players could come to an end and see the Hatters rocking some Premier League talent in their team just like their fellow Championship teams.
2) PLAYING STYLE
Nathan Jones' playing styles have differed throughout the years he has been in charge, from fast-paced build-ups to a more direct approach, his tactics have varied depending on the players he has had at his expense.
During the League One campaign, the Hatters played exciting fast-paced counter-attacking football with a diamond formation. The attacks usually copy and pasted themselves with James Justin or Jack Stacey playing a returned pass with midfielders Andrew Shinnie or Pelly Ruddock before placing the ball into the path of James Collins to slot home. The entertaining methods were simple but deadly and helped Luton achieve the third-tier title come the end of the 2018/19 season.
In recent seasons, Jones has decided to opt for a back five and has a deployed a more direct style of football.
Some Luton fans have appeared frustrated by these methods and with a new manager coming in, a mix of the two would be what fans would love, however, every manager has their own ideas and it will be a matter of time to see who comes in and what they can do with the squad.
3) A FRESH START
Leading on from the squad, the departure of Jones and the arrival of someone new gives every player a fresh start and a clean slate no matter what has happened in the past.
Jones has never stated there has been problems within his camp and he certainly didn't have favourites as every player was given an equal chance. But when a new manager enters the camp, each player will have to earn the trust of the head coach to ensure their place on the team sheet.
Younger players who are just breaking into the team could be given that chance as a new manager will want to experiment with his squad before knowing his strongest eleven. Casey Pettit is one to keep an eye on as he was expected to break through under Jones but has only managed to make the bench so far this season.
So it is not all doom and gloom for the Hatters as they wait to hear who their new manager will be.