THE time is right for Pep Clotet to take on the challenge of becoming a successful manager, according to Garry Monk.

Few men are better placed to offer an assessment of the new Oxford United boss, who worked for four years as Monk’s assistant at Swansea City and Leeds United.

A twist of fate meant the Spaniard’s first game in charge was against Monk’s Middlesbrough side, in a pre-season friendly which finished goalless in Portugal last night.

And the new Boro manager was enthusiastic about Clotet’s credentials.

“I think he’s ready for the test,” Monk, who played five games on loan for the U’s in 2001, said.

“You never know until you’re in there doing it, but he’s got the personality and definitely the knowledge to do that.

“I’ve got full confidence in Pep, I know what he’s capable of and this is his time.

“Oxford have recruited a very good manager. This is the challenge he needs at this stage of his career.

“We’ve had a fantastic four years together and we’re very close. I’ll be there to support him all the way.

“We’ve learned from each other and I think Pep will meet this challenge head-on.”