Submitted by Andrew McMellon
Host of My Best Eleven Podcast, Journalist and Pundit (https://mybesteleven.podbean.com/)
The pre season is well and truly underway at Luton Town. The Town have been running and working hard with 2/3 of the time being spent with Sports Scientists and Coaches in this early part of pre season, the manager admits he focusses on tactics and shape mostly at this stage.
However, with a little over a month to go and Luton having played the first of a number of pre season friendlies, My Best Eleven Podcast caught up with Nathan to ask him about the techniques they use and what has changed since his time at the club 25 years ago as a player.
The Beep Test
Every kid who grew up in the UK can remember the challenges of the test and the voice telling you which level you were at, but it seems this has changed.
"When I was a player we used to do the continuous ones where we went there, back, there back. They have done away with that now and it is now called a Yo-Yo. You have to go there, back, walk, walk and then you have to go again. The old one is and was much, much harder.
I have completed the new one but the old one, you used to keep going and going. It was always either you stopped or your heart does!"
Change to Methods
There have been huge changes, clearly at the club and this makes sense with different pitches, pressing game and football catching up with biology and science in every area. The memories that he had as a player and kid were clear though and he remembers the times of cross country in the mud or snow:
"Now the players are all about power, pace and other attributes. Before we used to have to run cross country around Stockwood Park and go as fast as you can for 4 or 5 miles. No one does Cross Country these days and no one goes over 1500m. It is all power work, repeated sprints. It is a different type of fitness these days and with these Luton players."
Nathan and His Running Ability
He was however, when speaking on the podcast, very proud of his record in cross country but was humble about how his time at Luton went after that, especially with the change in manager a couple of weeks after he signed:
"I do not think over long distance, any of these players could catch me or beat me but in terms of everything else, I could never have caught some of the players we have as they are more powerful and quick.
I actually remember my first day at the club and it was cross country and Peaky (Trevor Peake) said 'If you want to go, just go' and I did. I think Telfs (Paul Telfer) was a record holder at the time and I smashed his records. Unfortunately from that day on for me at the club, it was all downhill."
There is a bit of tradition in football, years gone by, and even nowadays with some managers to still have one day a year where they could do what they want to the players as a way of making it clear who is boss, physically pushing the players to near breaking point and also character building. Sean Dyche spoke openly about it on his episode of the podcast about doing this once a year.
Nathan made it clear though that he has no plans to doing that at Luton.
The Nathan Jones podcast is out on 14th July 2021 through all podcast outlets
Contributed: Andrew McMellon We interview ex-professionals (players, managers, officials) as well as celebrities and find out who would get into their ultimate Best Eleven Players they ever played with.
Twitter: @mybestelevenpod OR @andrew_mc84