Defender looks to Hartlepool United management for inspiration as he takes on new role
Rob Jones is looking to use his vast experience to help influence the next generation of Hartlepool United youngsters.
And the 36-year-old admits he has the ideal duo in Craig Hignett and Curtis Fleming to take inspiration from.
The centre-back has extended his stay at the League Two side and while his main focus remains playing, his new deal also includes a role coaching the Under-14 players in the club’s academy.
Experienced Jones has played more than 400 games in the Football League and SPL and had a spell as Doncaster Rovers caretaker-manager after the sacking of Paul Dickov in 2015.
He also had a spell working as coach of Doncaster’s development side before joining Pools, where he is now looking forward to coaching again.
“I have had two years with the Under-21s at Doncaster and I have coached at every club I have been at, whether it be Under-21s or younger,” Jones told SportMail.
“They have given me the Under-14s this season which is great for me and gets me back out coaching.
“Hopefully I can influence a number of players under my wing and they can move forward.
“It is important to look at what you want to do next, put things in place and enjoy it. I also want to give something back.
“Playing is first and foremost but if I can influence an individual in a positive way then I have done my job.
“At the moment, I am just concentrating on playing though.
“Once I can’t do that anymore, then I will decide what to do.”
Jones may be undecided over whether he wants to take the plunge into management when he does finally hang up his boots.
But he is relishing learning from Hignett and Fleming ahead of the return to pre-season training on Wednesday.
“I knew Craig before I came to the club, I had met him once or twice before, and he takes everything in his stride,” added Jones.
“He has served his apprentice at Hartlepool and Middlesbrough before returning here as manager and he knows how to do things.
“That influence came across to me very quickly.
“Curtis came in shortly after and is another very enthusiastic and driven person - the lads took to them both very well.
“We all know what he expects of us, he is meticulous and he is a big plus for me.
“I am still learning that side of it and it is great to have those two to pick the bones out of things and learn from.”