GARRY Monk admits to being warmed by the words of Norwich City boss Alex Neil - who is confident Monk will “bring out the best” in Leeds United as head coach.
Monk and Neil will go toe-to-toe at Elland Road on Tuesday evening for a fourth round EFL Cup clash where a place in the quarter-finals awaits the winners.
And Canaries boss Neil spoke highly of his opposite number in his Monday pre-match press conference, hailing the managerial talents of the 37-year-old who he believed strongly advertised his credentials during nearly two years in charge of Swansea City.
After being appointed as Swans head coach aged just 34 in February 2014, Monk guided the Welsh club to an eighth-placed finish and a record Premier League points tally the following season, as part of a campaign which included doubles over both Manchester United and Arsenal.
Monk was touted as a potential future England manager but was then sacked four months into the following season after a run of one win in 11 league games.
Ten months later, Monk is now approaching his 16th game in charge of Leeds and Neil believes Swansea’s loss is United’s gain.
“If you look at the club - Steve (Evans) went in last season and steadied the ship, and then he left at the end of the season,” reasoned Neil.
“It’s been quite a common feature for that club to turn over managers, and I think the one thing that they need is a bit of stability.
“Garry will certainly bring out the best in them. He showed how good a coach he is at Swansea, and he’s certainly making them better as their results have proven.”
Asked about Neil’s warm words at his own pre-match press conference at Thorp Arch, Monk said: “When managers speak about other managers we all know what each other go through and what goes into being a manager and trying to help a team and help a club.
“I have got big respect for Alex, I think he does a fantastic job there and he came in under circumstances where people asked questions when he first went in there and whether he had the experience - similar to myself when I took over at Swansea. And he proved a lot of people wrong and he still is.
“For me, they are up there with Newcastle but for me they are one of those two teams who will be favourites for the league but I also think they are favourites for automatic promotion - I think they are that good a squad and they have got that good a team. I think he is a very good manager and of course when they speak about you in that way it’s always good to hear.”
Norwich will be without former Whites favourite Jonny Howson who will be out for two months having undergone ankle surgery.