Ex-coffee shop working coach wants players to be "grafters"
Joaquin Gomez worked as a Brighton barista when he first came to England six years ago – now he is aiming to help close friend Nathan Jones find the right blend at Kenilworth Road after joining as first-team coach this week.
The 30-year-old Spaniard left his role as head of tactical analysis at Sky Bet Championship club Derby County to become the latest addition to the Town’s backroom staff.
He previously worked his way through the academy at Brighton to work with the first team alongside Hatters boss Jones at the Amex – but only after starting out in a Brighton coffee shop!
“I couldn’t speak any English – not that I can now!” laughed the man who was one of Spain’s youngest ever holders of the UEFA Pro Licence coaching qualification. “I had to do what I had to do until I could get the coaching going again.
“It’s what we want from the players as well, to be grafters and hard workers. It doesn’t matter what your role is at that moment in time – you’ve just got to get your head down and get working, and opportunities will come, whether for us as coaches or the players.”
He added: “I’ve done a lot of different jobs in Spain as well. It is difficult to get by just by coaching, and I was always taught by my dad that you need to work, you do what you have to do.”
Gomez had already seen the Hatters beat his former club last Saturday at Kenilworth Road when he appeared at Jones’ side for the first time since their Brighton days at Woking on Tuesday night.
He was impressed by both the 2-1 victory over the Seagulls, and then the 1-1 draw with the Vanarama National League hosts when Jones fielded a more youthful side.
“I’ve been very impressed,” added the man who undertook placements at Atletico and Real Madrid while studying at university in his homeland, and then worked as assistant-manager at fifth-tier club C.P. Parla Escuela. “Obviously I know how Nathan works and I knew that the players would be very well organised and would have that intensity about them in possession.
“But I was really impressed with the game against Brighton. They dominated the game and created good chances. They pressed, were on the front foot and I like that. We tried to do the same thing on Tuesday. The boys in the team were a little bit younger, but they did very well too.”
Tomorrow sees League One play-off side Walsall visit Kenilworth Road for a 3pm kick-off in the Hatters’ final pre-season friendly before the season opener at Plymouth next week.
Gomez added: “It’ll be a little bit of a step up in the challenge that the players are going to face. It’ll be something a little more similar to what we are going to face in the league, but we are really looking forward to it and seeing how the payers will respond.”
The Saddlers come to Kenilworth Road having last season reached the play-offs following a third place finish in the division above the Town.
Former physio Jon Whitney is about to embark on his first full season in charge of the Midlands club after Dean Smith and Sean O’Driscoll both left the role during last season.
Our new signing Jordan Cook will hope to feature against the club where he turned down the offer of a new contract to join the Hatters this summer.
Kick-off at Kenilworth Road is 3pm and admission prices are:
£12 – adults
£6 – Under-22s and 65-plus
FREE – accompanied Under-10s (maximum three per purchased ticket).
The Kenilworth Road stand will not be open for this game.
If you are unable to attend tomorrow, we’ll be tweeting live updates of the action and posting a match report, picture gallery and manager/player interviews on lutontown.co.uk after the final whistle.