FORMER Newport County AFC star Lee Evans has paid tribute to the departed Glyn Jones but says the Exiles youngsters will be in safe hands with Mike Flynn.

Academy director Jones left the club last week after 17 years in charge of the County youth set-up.

The 55-year-old helped the likes of Nathan Davies, Andrew Hughes and Evans through to the first team.

And Evans, who left Rodney Parade for Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2013, says Jones was a big influence on his career.

“I can’t thank Glyn enough. He’s done a lot for me,” said the 19-year-old, who played for Wales under-21s against England on Monday night.

“He picked me up after I was released by Bristol Rovers and helped me all the way through to the first team.

“Glyn, Danny Elliot, Steve Davies, John White and all the team were brilliant to me.

“But I can’t speak highly enough of Glyn and he still keeps in contact.”

County midfielder Flynn is now set for a coaching role with the club’s youngsters alongside his playing contract next season.

And Evans says the dual role should be a perfect fit for his old teammate.

“Flynny helped me a lot when I became involved with the first team,” he said.

“I knew he was a Newport lad and he would always keep me on my toes, keep me working hard and he gave me a lot of tips.

“I think he’ll be good for the youngsters. I’m sure he’ll do well with coaching and the academy boys at Newport will be in safe hands.”

Evans, who helped Wolves storm to the League One title this month, was pleased to see his old club survive in League Two.

“I always thought they’d be fine,” he said. “They started off very well but obviously the pitch messed them up during the season.

“They’ll be looking to add to the squad this summer and make another good push next season.”

Wales senior manager Chris Coleman watched Evans play 90 minutes in Monday’s 3-1 defeat to England under-21s in Swansea.

And the Newport-born midfielder is hoping to earn a senior international call-up before too long.

“You have to put the performances in with the under-21s if you’re knocking on the door,” he said.

“Then if injuries come in the first team you could get that experience of being called up. That’s what we’re all striving for.”

Coleman names his squad this morning for the June 4 friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.