Allardyce backs Phil Jones to succeed at Manchester United

Former Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is convinced Manchester United are signing a star of the future in Phil Jones.

The Barclays Premier League champions are poised to complete a deal for the highly-rated 19-year-old after apparently beating off competition from rivals Liverpool and Arsenal.

Blackburn are thought to have accepted an offer of around £16million and Jones is understood to have undergone a medical at United yesterday.

There has been no official confirmation from either club but it would now be a major surprise if the move was not ratified in the near future.

Allardyce, who is now at West Ham but handed Jones his Premier League debut in March last year, told BBC Sport: "His mental strength and the abilities to cope with the pressure of the Premier League at such a young age stood out.

"He wasn't fazed, didn't look too nervous and was quite calm.

"That is very important going into the biggest league in the world at such a young age.

"I think he made his (Premier League) debut against Chelsea and was man of the match.

"His mental strength was always going to be good enough and that is one of the biggest factors if you are going to be a top, top player.

"I think eventually, with a little more experience, which is going to gain more quickly at Manchester United, he will ultimately become an England defender."

Former Rovers forward Kevin Gallacher even believes United are getting a bargain, despite paying a high premium for a teenager with relatively little experience.

The Scot said: "I think he's underpriced to be honest.

"He is already top quality and will only get better with the players that will be around him at Manchester United."

Jones has now linked up with the England Under-21 squad in Denmark ahead of the European Championship.

He was joined there by Sunderland's Jordan Henderson, with whom he shares an agent and whose own high-profile move to Liverpool is thought to be imminent.

Jones is likely to be the first of a number of new faces at Old Trafford this summer as manager Sir Alex Ferguson freshens up his squad.

Aston Villa forward Ashley Young is thought to be a target and it was claimed today the player's representatives have met with United officials.

Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea are also on Ferguson's wanted list, in addition to Tottenham's Luka Modric and Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder.

Another defender, Raphael Varane of Lens, has also been linked.

Edwin van der Sar and Paul Scholes will not be part of the team next year having announced their retirements while striker Dimitar Berbatov's future is uncertain.

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