Kevin Phillips has opened the door on a dramatic return to Watford – saying he’d ‘walk back’ to Vicarage Road if Nigel Pearson asked him to be a part of his coaching staff.
The former striker is a familiar face to Watford fans as it was the Hornets who gave the 46-year-old his breakthrough in the professional game when they signed him from Baldock Town in 1994.
He managed to score 25 goals during three years in Hertfordshire before moving to Sunderland in 1997, and then onto a host of other clubs including Southampton, West Brom and Birmingham.
Phillips is also close to Pearson, who became Watford’s new head coach last week on a deal until the end of the season, having worked with him at Leicester – both under him as a player and alongside him as a coach.
And Phillips has admitted he could never refuse the opportunity to return to the Vic if Pearson wants him on his staff.
“I would probably walk down the M1 to Watford,” Phillips exclusively told talkSPORT. “It’s the club where it all started for me.
“I sent Nigel a text wishing him all the very best and Shakey [Craig Shakespeare, Pearson’s assistant] as well. But, if they made the call, I’d be silly to turn it down.
“At the moment, they’re obviously preparing for the game at the weekend which is an extremely tough one at Liverpool. It’s something I’d definitely look at.”
“The Premier League and Championship need managers like Nigel Pearson,” added Phillips. “He opted to go abroad and get away from everything when he got sacked by Derby and couldn’t get a job and reinvented himself and came back.
“He’s been given an opportunity at a fantastic club like Watford. It’s a tough job, but at Leicester [in 2014/15] we were dead and buried at Christmas and eight points adrift, but he turned it around and we survived.
“He’s very knowledgeable and I’m delighted to see him back in the game.”
Pearson’s life at Watford couldn’t get off to a worse start, with the Golden Boys travelling to Liverpool on Saturday to face the league leaders – with full commentary of the match LIVE on talkSPORT!
LIVE on talkSPORT
Check out all the live commentaries coming up across our network this week…
- Standard Liege vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Charlton vs Hull (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Liverpool vs Watford (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Birmingham vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Chelsea vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Southampton vs West Ham (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
Things get slightly easier after that, with Manchester United visiting Vicarage Road the following weekend, before fixtures against Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Wolves over the festive period.
And Phillips is confident Pearson’s man management skills will allow him to get the best out of a group of players who have underperformed this season, leaving them bottom of the table with just nine points.
The 46-year-old finished: “He is a great man manager. He tends to get the best out of players. Those players will know their jobs inside out and he’ll demand that they go out and do it.
“He’s very organised and he’ll certainly do his homework on every team they play. He’s brought in another experienced man alongside him in Craig Shakespeare and they have a great relationship and great knowledge.
“I’m not saying they’re going to win every game, but every player that goes on the pitch will know exactly what Nigel will demand of them.”
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you THREE live Premier League commentaries across our network, including Liverpool vs Watford at 12:30pm