Premier League debuts are always a nerve wracking occasion for anyone but to come up against one of the biggest and strongest centre forwards in the league could easily be the difference between a good debut and bad debut.
The player in question making his debut was 18 year old Blackburn defender Phil Jones and the striker in question is Chelsea’s Ivorian international Didier Drogba. You can check out analysis of Jones’ debut courtesy of Zonal Marking.
As you can see Jones made a very consistent first start for Rovers and was successful more often than not in making clearances. While him and the defence did concede an early goal from Chelsea they managed to keep them at bay for the next 85 minutes.
That certainly is no mean feat when you consider Chelsea have scored seven goals against teams on three occasions this season and have scored 95 goals overall in the league.
That 1-1 draw and in particular the performance of Jones earned plaudits from manager Sam Allardyce – “He made his debut and it was an outstanding performance from the young man, he showed a lot of commitment and a lot of quality and it revved everybody up.”
He was also named man of the match in the game in question and has since gone on to have another star studded performance against Manchester United. Jones seems to make a habit of giving a good account of himself because in his first team debut in the Carling Cup against Nottingham Forest he received plaudits once again.
A product of Blackburn’s youth system – Jones is already being compared to a young John Terry. Even Alan Hansen on MOTD in his analysis has said Jones is “unbelievably good.”
This in my mind is an understatement. It is no surprise to hear in the past couple of weeks that clubs such as Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are in pursuit of the defender.
Strong, solid, mature with good awareness. Those are attributes which we all associate with defenders and the 18 year old possess all of these. Jones has had a superb run of form since breaking into the first team and has showed a lot of grit and determination.
The Blackburn defence have caused many teams problems at Ewood Park this season and this has certainly been the case since the Englishman came to the fore.
It comes as no surprise that he has yesterday signed a five year contract with Rovers which will keep him tied to the club until 2015.
Allardyce has said: “When you have spent so much time and effort developing a player you want to see the club benefit as much as possible by him playing on the field.”
I predicted a very bright future for 18 year old Jones a couple of weeks ago on Twitter and I don’t think he is going to let me down. I am almost certainly that he will be an England international one day also.
In the style of Andy Gray – Phil Jones: “take a bow son, take a bow.”