There will be extra warmth in the handshakes between the coaching teams in Kaliningrad ahead of tonight's World Cup match-up.

Just about everyone who tunes in to the Group G decider will know the strong Boro connection on the England side. But there's one with Belgium too.

Graeme Jones is part of a cosmopolitan coaching set-up with Belgium, which includes Thierry Henry and of course head coach Roberto Martinez.

Jones' association with Martinez goes back to their playing days with Wigan, a bond which has stood the test of time for over two decades.

But what is often overlooked is that following his playing days, Gateshead-born Jones cut his coaching teeth for a while with our Academy.

A phone call to our office from our former Head of Academy Recruitment Ron Bone served as a reminder of the link to tonight's game.

"Graeme looked after our Under-13s and 14s and was a really popular figure," Ron recalls.

"I know Gareth (Southgate) took his badges at the same time as Graeme and I think wanted him to work with the England set-up when he took over.

"Graeme was a character and obviously very good at what he did, what he does."


World Cup