First Team Coach Chris Jones is hoping to draw on all the coaching experience he has gained to help Derby County Football Club succeed.
Jones was appointed the club’s First Team Coach in June 2018 following the announcement of Frank Lampard as manager.
He joined the Rams from Chelsea where he spent 12 years as a coach, mainly the club’s fitness coach.
During his time in West London, Jones worked with Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Antonio Conte.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and it was a good time for a change for me,” Jones told RamsTV. “After all that time picking up the experiences of managers at Chelsea, it has been good to put all those together and work here with the guys and instil the ideas I have on how we train and contribute to how we play as well.
“Part of the reason why Frank got me involved is probably down the line of seeing things a different way. I played at a lower level early and then went down the fitness route and coaching as well which I did from the start. It’s a mix of the two that I bring.
“The manager likes to combine work on the field with a lot of video work, individual and as a group. It reinforces the messages and habit that he wants them to be picking up. We look back on the games, review them and look forward to the next ones and try to instil it on the training pitch.
“He is very open and he wants different views and opposing views at times so he can make a balanced judgement on how to play things. Ultimately it will be his decision but he does like to get different ideas on things.”
Jones’ first real taste of competitive football for Derby County was the opening day win over Reading and he has good memories of that game.
“It was a brilliant moment and it’s the best time to score,” he said. “It’s a great feeling when you put the work in, push the players and will them to win, and then you score in the final period then it’s just a brilliant release of emotion.
“It’s been a good start to the season so far. It’s been a busy time with a lot of games in this first block leading into the first international break. There have been some changes in the playing staff and the way we have played so there has been a load of changes we have instilled.
“The messages from the manager have been a challenge to get into the players but we have had a fair bit of time with them now and they have taken to it well.”
A big part of Jones’ work is to help the manager identify talent coming through the Derby County academy. This season, the club have seen academy graduates Mason Bennett and Jaydon Bogle flourish and with Max Bird also gaining first team minutes, Jones explained the process which the young players go through.
“A big part of our work is to integrate throughout the club and we bring up the young players when we can and we look forward to it,” Jones added. “We show them the way we are playing and instil the mentality that we are passing on to the first team group so it filters down. It’s satisfying when we bring young players over and they do well and thrive in the sessions.
“We look for players with enthusiasm and quality. It’s been brilliant to see how well Bogle has been doing in games. He had an injury against Preston, but he was brilliant up until that point. He has been a real highlight for us.
“Myself, the manager and Jody go over to watch the under 18s training and we watch the under 23s as much as we can in games and training so we keep an eye on who is doing well and we bring them over accordingly. If someone is training well and deserves to come over with the first team then we hope to do that as much as we can.”