Sunday 4 December 2016

Davis pours praise on Pearson

Published 06/05/2015 | 16:16

Nigel Pearson had a short stint as Southampton manager seven years ago
Nigel Pearson had a short stint as Southampton manager seven years ago

Kelvin Davis believes Nigel Pearson's success as Leicester manager shows what a mistake Southampton made letting him go seven years ago.

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Appointed towards the end of the 2007/08 season, the 51-year-old helped Saints avoid relegation from the Championship on the final day of the campaign.

However, Pearson's St Mary's stay was successful but short as former Dutch international Jan Poortvliet was brought in to replace him that summer - a disastrous decision which played a big part in dropping into League One.

Saints' subsequent rise from the depths of the third tier and administration to chase European qualification is well-documented, although the role Pearson played at Southampton has been largely forgotten.

Veteran goalkeeper Davis is the sole survivor from that era and was full of praise of the Leicester manager ahead of Saturday's trip to the King Power Stadium.

"For me, what stood out when he came here is that he was on his own and took control of the whole club, the whole squad, and managed to keep us up," the Saints club captain said.

"There was an opportunity at the time to keep him here and we didn't, and I've always said that he was a fantastic manager for us.

"You can see that he's a good leader, very well organised with good staff around him.

"The time here made him stronger and we went on to achieve in a difficult time, but his remit in coming here was to help keep us up, and it's a shame we didn't see more of him.

"It's no surprise that he's gone to Leicester and done the work that he's done there, looking as though he's turned it around at that club."

Pearson's success at City has been overshadowed somewhat by a growing rap sheet, including last week's bizarre "ostrich" at a journalist.

Davis says he is unlike the brooding, dour man he can comes across as, though, praising the former Saints boss' man management.

"He was very personable which is a great trait, and in the position we were in, he took control of the situation around the club," he told the club's official website, www.saintsfc.co.uk.

"We had our own job to do, but anyone who played under him at that time will tell you that they wanted to do well."

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