Nathan Jones has described his new role at Charlton Athletic as “perfect” for his career, admitting he felt “blessed” to be entrusted with developing the club’s future stars.
The former Yeovil Town player and assistant-manager has been appointed the Addicks’ under-21 professional development coach.
The Welshman left Huish Park after seven years at the end of last month and will now manage Charlton’s promising under-21 team, reporting to academy boss Paul Hart.
Jones – who joins friend and former Glovers’ keeper coach Ben Roberts at The Valley – revealed he could have extended his playing career but could not resist applying for what he believes is his ideal job at the npower Championship newboys.
“It’s the perfect role that I wanted,” said the 39-year-old. “It is something that gives me a chance to coach every day at an excellent club. There’s an element of results-based play in that as well because we want to produce players that are first team ready.
“The club wants to get away from developing players for the sake of it, they want to get first team players out of the young players.
“The club wants to emphasise the importance of results, the importance of being at Charlton Athletic and the importance of being successful in the first team as well as developing top, young players, which they already have at the club.
“When you are assistant-manager at a League One club there is a lot of responsibility but my role had changed at Yeovil and I was not content to stand still.
“I did not want to be there and take the odd session, I wanted to be involved in shaping players for the future not just for football but as people. This role is absolutely fitted and ticks every last box.
“I know the infrastructure of Charlton, it is fantastic, the coaching staff are superb and I know (first team manager) Chris Powell well so it will be exciting to work with him.
“A big challenge will be working under Paul Hart who has a fantastic reputation for producing top young players and the Leeds and Nottingham Forest teams he produced were superb.
“That was a real positive for me. I had opportunities to take up player-coaching roles in the League but once this role came up it was the only one I wanted and I have been very blessed to get it.”
Jones arrived at Yeovil from Brighton and Hove Albion in 2005, going on to captain the Glovers at the 2007 League One play-off final at Wembley and making, in total, 185 appearances – more than any he made at his other clubs in a professional career spanning two decades.
He signalled his intent to pursue a career in coaching by first assisting Yeovil Town Ladies before being appointed Terry Skiverton’s number two in February 2009. However, Jones was demoted to coach upon the return of Gary Johnson in January this year.
The Rhondda-born left back refused to draw a line under a playing career that boasted more than 500 senior appearances and said he could still have been a first team regular in the Football League next season.
Jones said: “I am not officially retiring because I am still extremely fit and if I had wanted to cling on to my playing career I would have stayed at Yeovil.
“I think I would have played enough games there to keep me satisfied at my age in League One. If I had wanted to keep playing I could also have gone to another club where I would have been a first team regular because I knew the manager as I had worked with him before.
“If I wanted to have stayed playing I could have stayed in the League and played but this was the role I had made my mind up to leave Yeovil for, this was the role I craved when it came available.
“It is at a fantastic club with fantastic facilities and young players that want to learn. It is a club that is going all out to produce young players and a club that recognises my ability to mould and develop those players.”