Nathan Jones tipped his cap to Nick Powell as he analysed Stoke City’s win over Cardiff as a pundit.
It was Jones who signed Powell as a free agent from Wigan last summer – but the playmaker missed most of Jones’s time in charge with what was put down to niggling injuries.
He started the opening game but only made one more start before Jones was sacked and it took until the New Year to win a regular place under Michael O’Neill.
Since then, Powell has emerged as a key figure in Stoke’s attempt to escape relegation. Against Cardiff he shifted over to left midfield and had a part in both goals.
And Jones, watching on for EFL on Quest, said: “It’s been good for Stoke to have Nick Powell firing. I’ve watched a few of their games lately and he’s started to now click, starting to be the player we signed him for back in June.
“I think he’s been a big thing because he has that creative edge that others don’t and he’s been involved in a lot of goals, especially last week at QPR.
“I think he’s starting to repay that.”
Jones suggested Stoke were well worth the three points as they beat Cardiff 2-0 this afternoon.
He said: “They controlled the game, they’re the better side and it surprised me slightly because Cardiff are in good form since Neil’s gone in there.
“Stoke could have had one or two more as well.”
But, as he considers his next move, he does not regret leaving a Luton Town team on their way to promotion to the Championship for 10 months in the Potteries.
He said: “I don’t think you can regret the things you do, you regret the things you don’t.
“I would definitely do things differently but it was a massive learning curve for me. I’ve had time to reflect.
“It’s a wonderful club and it’s a time that I’ve really learned from.”
Jones was asked by presented Colin Murray if he’d stake money on Stoke staying up.
He said: “They have a very strong squad and an experienced manager. I’m not a betting man but I’m sure they’ll have enough to get over the line.”