CRAIG HOPE: Graeme Jones arrived at Newcastle amid suspicion and noise, but he soon did his talking on the training ground and has made a big impression… now former Belgium assistant can help England after twice plotting victory over them in 2018
- The 51-year-old arrived in January after Newcastle suffered a dip in results
- His first interview in which he spoke more like a manager caused suspicion
- Jones quickly built a good reputation as he helped the club climb up the table
- Now he will be part of England’s coaching team at the European Championship
England’s new coaching recruit Graeme Jones was parachuted into Newcastle in January – and did not land quietly.
He was presented by the club via a polished in-house interview in which he spoke more like a manager than assistant, causing inevitable suspicion.
But once the noise had eased, the former Luton boss and Belgium assistant let his work on the training ground do the talking.
Graeme Jones has been added to the England coaching staff ahead of Euro 2020 this summer
Within days word began to emerge of just how big an impression he had made on Newcastle’s players.
He had known for a little while that his first game in the dugout would likely be at Everton, and so he arrived with in-depth knowledge of the opposition.
Not only that, he had clearly studied Newcastle’s players, too. There were one-on-one chats and little nuggets of advice and observations he had made.
The Magpies won 2-0 at Goodison Park using a new diamond formation said to be the brainchild of Jones, and so ended a run of six straight defeats.
There is an intensity about Jones’ demeanour which earned the respect of Newcastle’s players
There were wobbles in form thereafter, but there is no doubting the positive impact his addition had on Newcastle’s season.
He won the players’ respect, and some joke about never quite knowing if he is about to flip, for there is an intensity to his demeanour.
But his sessions are said to be fun, varied and innovative, and manager Steve Bruce has used his presence to full advantage.
Jones has very quickly built a good reputation on his native Tyneside, but that standing could spread nationally this summer following Gareth Southgate’s shrewd pick to join him at the European Championship.
Gareth Southgate knows Jones, 51, from their coaching badge courses and did not forget him
The Three Lions boss knows the 51-year-old from courses during qualification for their coaching badges, and he has not forgotten his bright thinking and enthusiasm for work on the grass.
Jones also has tournament experience in helping Belgium to the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup, in which they twice beat England.
He will, therefore, have a definite idea on England’s strengths and weaknesses. At least now that can be used to their advantage.
Jones (left) was part of Roberto Martinez’s (centre) staff with Belgium at the 2018 World Cup