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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 23 hours ago
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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 23 hours ago
Read
By ESPN Staff
Feb 23, 2011

Kean hails retention of Jones

Blackburn boss Steve Kean feels the club's growing status has been pivotal to the recent spate of players pledging their futures to Rovers.

• Blackburn target Kaka
• Jones commits to Rovers

Since the new owners arrived at the club, the likes of Chris Samba, Michel Salgado, Jason Roberts and, most recently last week, Phil Jones have all signed new deals.

The club has been linked with host of high-profile stars including Ronaldinho and Kaka since the ambitious Venky's group took charge but the foundations are also being strengthened from within.

Jones, in particular, has been seen as crucial as Kean confirmed the club received enquiries for the 19-year-old central defender during last month's transfer window from "a couple of big clubs''.

"There is always going to be interest. The big clubs are always going to try and recruit people of Phil's stature,'' said Jones. "We had enquiries from a couple of big clubs, and without naming any names, we're delighted he decided to pledge his future to us. They were only tentative enquiries. There was nothing concrete put in front of us.

"But it says a lot for us as a club that players like Phil can commit themselves to us, even if there is interest from bigger clubs. What we give them is a platform on which to play, with academy and reserve players promoted to the first team and given a chance to mix in with the quality senior players we already have here.''

After breaking into the first team 11 months ago, Jones signed a five-year contract in the summer, only for the club to recognise they had to do more to avoid him being lured away. Whatever clauses Jones may possess in his new deal, Kean knows it may not be enough to keep the Premier League's big boys at bay.

"You have to hope it's enough,'' added Kean. "If somebody came in with a really big bid then we would speak to Phil and the people who look after him, who are very sensible and who give him good solid advice. But hopefully as he keeps playing, progressing and developing, we'll keep hold of him for the term of his contract.''

Jones, currently recovering from surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee, admits to being surprised when Blackburn came in with an improved offer that takes him through to 2016. But then as someone who has lived in Blackburn and supported the club all his life, the decision to re-sign was a simple one at the end of the day.

"I'm a local lad, I watched them on the terraces when I was a boy, and all my friends and family support Blackburn,'' said Jones. "So I'm really happy to have signed the new contract. I know I made the right decision. There are a lot of players coming through the academy these days at Blackburn, and that's promising for the future. There's a lot of potential here.''

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