Blackburn boss must keep hold of young talent

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Sam Allardyce is determined Blackburn will get rewarded by what Phil Jones does on the pitch rather than what they could get in the transfer market.

The 18-year-old was elevated into the senior ranks due Ryan Nelsen's knee injury and Christopher Samba's suspension.

Yet, despite coming up against both Chelsea and Manchester United in a five-match run in the side, Jones did not look out of place and played a major role in Blackburn securing home draws against both Premier League title challengers.

"We are determined to hold on to Phil," said Allardyce.

Allardyce has already noted Chris Smalling, a player of similar inexperience at Fulham, will join Manchester United in the summer, and seen Jack Rodwell's name get touted around as the vultures circle over the Everton man.

And although he is pragmatic enough to understand every player has his price, the Blackburn chief wants Blackburn to see some tangible reward for their investment.

Allardyce addded: "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, not by the finance you are going to get.

"Blackburn have ploughed a huge amount of money into the academy for no reward recently.

"But Phil is a local lad and to see him come through like he has is absolutely magnificent."

Allardyce knows it will be some time before Jones has proved he has the talent to make an impression on the biggest stage. "Centre-half is a high-risk position," reflected Allardyce. "The only place with more responsibility is goalkeeper because your mistakes get punished.

"As a manager, I had to decide whether to take that gamble but Phil had already minimised the risk with his performances in matches which were not high priority.

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Blackburn Rovers
Phil Jones
Premier League

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