Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan believes that Nathan Jones’ appointment at Southampton could quickly backfire.
After almost four years in the dugout, the Saints decided to part ways with Ralph Hasenhuttl following their latest Premier League defeat last weekend.
The officials at St Mary’s acted quickly to identify ex-Luton Town boss Jones as his successor, and he was officially unveiled as the new manager on Thursday morning.
The Welshman had a previous stint at the Hatters before joining Stoke City, where he was sacked after 10 months in charge.
But when speaking to Football Insider, Whelan was unsure about Southampton’s decision to hand the 49-year-old the role.
When asked whether he thought it was a risk, he said: “It is. It’s a completely different beast to Luton.
“They’re not in a good place right now, mentally – and they’re just lingering football-wise at the moment.
“Yes, he’s done a fantastic job with Luton – but he’s failed already at Stoke, a bigger club.
“I would have thought that the Southampton board would have been looking for someone with a bit more experience in the top league.
“But it seems like they’ve had him in mind for quite some time now.
“There’s going to be so much pressure on his shoulders. I can’t imagine it’s going to excite the fans, but they’ve got to give him the opportunity to work some magic.
“But he’s got to hit the ground running. If he doesn’t, it will turn sour very quickly.”
TIF Thoughts on Whelan’s comments…
Do you want Nathan Jones at Southampton?
As TalkSport’s Alex Crook said, had the club appointed a name with a more overseas flavour, fans would perhaps have been more intrigued.
However, he deserves to be given a chance, as Whelan mentioned.
As per Transfermarkt, the former Yeovil Town player has no playing nor managerial experience in the English top flight, which could be a potential red flag.
But he did rack up 1.49 points per game in his second stint at Luton in the Championship, and although at a lower level, that is still a respectable record as he took the club to the play-offs last term.
He may not be expected to get anything out of the game against Liverpool this weekend, but if Jones manages to steer the south-coast side to safety, it will go a long way to winning the supporters over.