Graeme Jones knows England’s strengths and weaknesses after helping Belgium beat Three Lions in 2018
CRAIG HOPE: Graeme Jones arrived in Newcastle amid suspicion and noise, but he soon spoke out on the training ground and made a big impression … now the former Belgian assistant can help England after twice plotting victory against them in 2018
Graeme Jones, England’s new recruit, was dropped in Newcastle in January and did not land peacefully.
He was introduced by the club via a polished internal interview in which he spoke more like a manager than an assistant, which inevitably aroused suspicion.
But once the noise had subsided, the former Luton boss and Belgian assistant let his work on the training ground do the talking.
Friday, June 11
Saturday June 12
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Graeme Jones has been added to the England coaching staff ahead of Euro 2020 this summer
Within a few days it began to become apparent how great an impression he had made on the Newcastle players.
He had known for a while that his first game in the dugout would likely be in Everton, so he arrived with a deep understanding of the opposition.
Not only that, he had clearly been studying the Newcastle players. There were one-on-one conversations and little nuggets of advice and observations he’d made.
The Magpies won 2-0 at Goodison Park using a new diamond formation reportedly the brainchild of Jones, ending a run of six consecutive defeats.
There is an intensity about Jones’ attitude that has earned the respect of the Newcastle players
There were fluctuations in form after that, but there is no doubt the positive impact his addition had on Newcastle’s season.
He won the players’ respect, and a joke about the fact that he never quite knew if he was about to run, because there is an intensity in his behavior.
But his sessions would be fun, varied and innovative, and manager Steve Bruce took full advantage of his presence.
Jones has very quickly established a reputation in his native Tyneside, but that prestige could spread nationally this summer after Gareth Southgate’s smart choice to compete with him in the European Championship.
Gareth Southgate knows Jones, 51, from their coaching badge courses and hasn’t forgotten him
The Three Lions boss knows the 51-year-old from courses in qualifying for their coaching badges, and he hasn’t forgotten his smart thinking and enthusiasm for working on the grass.
Jones also has tournament experience helping Belgium to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in which they defeated England twice.
He will therefore have a clear idea of England’s strengths and weaknesses. Now that can be used to their advantage.
Jones (left) was part of Roberto Martinez’s (center) staff with Belgium at the 2018 World Cup