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Youngster nearing return from injury lay-off

Steve Kean has claimed that academy graduate Phil Jones has the potential to be a future captain of Blackburn Rovers and a long-term centre-half for England after he recently signed a new five-year deal.

Jones has reportedly attracted lots of interest from Premier League clubs, but Kean sees a long-term future for the defender at Ewood Park.

He told reporters: “We see Phil as a captain, and the making of our club.

"He not only has exceptional ability, but you can also see for one so young, he is not fazed by anything and he is also very vocal.

"I see him being not only a centre-half for Blackburn for many years to come, but also a centre-half for England."

The England Under 21 defender, who can also operate in midfield, said it was an easy decision to sign a contract extension with the team he grew up supporting.

Jones said: "Being a Blackburn lad made it that bit easier to sign the new deal, of course it did.

"But for me, it also shows Blackburn are keen to keep their best players at the club.

"That goes for every club in the Premier League. Everyone wants to keep players, but Blackburn have managed to do that here."

Despite the praise from his boss, Jones says any ideas of captaining Blackburn or England are a long way off.

He added: "Obviously it's really pleasing to hear the manager say nice things about you like that.

"I'd like to see myself as captain, but it's a long-term goal.

"I only really set short-term goals because I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."

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