Oxford City boss says new manager at boyhood club has 'opened a pathway'

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Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins Picture: Mike Allen
Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins Picture: Mike Allen

ROSS Jenkins hopes new Watford head coach Rob Edwards can blaze a trail for other young managers in English football.

The 39-year-old was appointed Hornets boss after winning Sky Bet League Two with Forest Green Rovers this season.

It sees the former Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder move from the fourth tier to a club that will be aiming for an immediate return to the Premier League next season.

READ MORE: Ross Jenkins' thoughts on Oxford City's play-off defeat to Dorking Wanderers

Oxford City head coach Jenkins is a Watford fan and graduated from the academy at Vicarage Road, going on to make 95 appearances.

At 31, the Court Place Farm boss is at the start of his coaching career so has extra reason to wish Edwards well at his boyhood club.

“I think he’s opened up a pathway,” Jenkins said.

“I’m a Watford fan, I follow Watford daily and still speak to a lot of people at the club.

“Some fans are saying it is too soon, but what is too soon for someone getting success at a lower level? Do you wait five years or go with it and see what happens?

“What he’s done at Forest Green will set a good example. I think he’ll have a good challenge at Watford because I still believe things need to be ironed out there a little bit. Hopefully he does well.”

Jenkins left Watford in 2014 and spells in Romania, Bulgaria, Norway and Scotland followed, while he also represented England at Under 20 level.

He was forced to retire in 2018 due to persistent injuries and was appointed to the coaching staff at City the year after.

Jenkins and Andy Ballard were placed in interim charge when David Oldfield left for Weymouth in January, with the former midfielder given the job permanently two months later.

MATCH REPORT: Oxford City lose at Dorking in play-off semi-final

He guided City to fifth in Vanarama National League South and they beat Eastbourne Borough in their play-off eliminator, before losing at Dorking Wanderers in the semi-final.

Edwards also retired early, aged 30, and went on to manage the Under 18 and Under 23 sides at Wolves.

His first job in men’s football was as boss of Telford United, who play at the same level as City in Vanarama National League North.

Edwards became England Under 16 manager in 2020 and moved to Forest Green 12 months ago.

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