It says much for Phil Jones' impact at Manchester United that, just five months after leaving today's opposition Blackburn Rovers, the 19-year-old's £16.5m transfer fee already looks like a bargain.
Rovers' manager, Steve Kean, though, has defended the club's transfer strategy. Kean claims he recommended Jones to then manager Sam Allardyce after spotting the youngster in an academy match.
Jones made his Premier League debut only last March, marking Didier Drogba in Blackburn's 1-1 draw with Chelsea, but just a few months into his stint at Old Trafford, he looks likely to be part of the United squad for the next decade and has forced his way into the England squad.
"I first saw him playing in an academy game. I mentioned to Sam that I thought he was a John Terry type," Kean said. "We got him up and he started to train with the first team and the rest is history.
"He has an old head on young shoulders, he has electric pace and he takes on information really well. Whatever information he's getting at United, like when he was here, you tell him to do something and he does it. He wasn't shy when giving a bit of stick out or demanding a bit more from his team-mates, so it's no surprise to me that he's done so well."
Kean had hoped the lure of regular football might be enough to allow Blackburn to cling on to Jones for a few more months after agreeing a release clause in the five-year deal the player signed in February and he believes that Jones would have been even cheaper without that new deal.
"He was on a small salary, for us to get him on a new five-year contract, the fee was put in there," Kean said. "He was just going to see it out."Reuse content