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Former Blackburn boss insists United's latest signing always had the mental toughness to deal with Premier League demands and backs Sir Alex Ferguson to build one more top team

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes Phil Jones has the mental strength needed to succeed at Manchester United and backed Sir Alex Ferguson to build another successful team at Old Trafford.

Allardyce gave Jones his debut at Blackburn back in 2009 and insists the mental toughness and all-round ability of the 19-year-old were never in doubt.

Asked about the £17 million man’s qualities, Allardyce told the BBC: “I think that there’s quite a number of things.

"I think first of all his mental strength and his ability to cope with the pressures of the Premier League at such a young age. 

"He wasn’t fazed, he didn’t look to nervous, he looked quite calm and I think that’s important going into the biggest league in the world at such a young age.

“He made his debut - I think it might have been against Chelsea - against Drogba, and I think he might have actually won man of the match that day.

"It shows that his mental strength was always going to be good enough and that’s one of the biggest factors if you’re going to be a top, top player I think.

“His skills after that was always there for us all to see in training and his capabilities as a footballer where he held in every department the right type of ability to be a very, very good defender.

“I think that eventually, with a little bit more experience - which he’ll gain more quickly at Manchester United - he’ll ultimately become an England defender.”

With early trends in the transfer market seemingly outlining a clear demand for British players, Allardyce believes the changing in football’s rules have added a premium to the cost of young home-grown talent’s such as the departing Blackburn youngster.

“I think in today’s football world we’ve seen a change of the rules where each club has to find a certain number of home-grown players and I think that puts players of Phil’s calibre and of his type even more expensive than they were before,” added the former Bolton boss.

Many are tipping the signing of Jones to be the start of a new era at Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson attempts to re-build his squad following the retirements of veterans Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar and Allardyce showered praise on the abilities of United’s manager.

“I think he’s getting close to double figures in re-builds," added the recently-installed Hammers manager.

“I think that’s what makes him the greatest manager there’s ever been in club football because of how many teams he’s re-built and how many teams have been successful that he’s re-built. 

“I think that this one is going to be as exciting as the first one when he’s getting young players of the talent of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling and of course Wayne Rooney is still very young and Nani, Anderson, people like that - and of course the Brazilian twins.

“So it think he’s well on his way to that re-build already but he’ll want to make sure he’s got a team ready for the next Champions League challenge in the hope that he can get closer for trying to beat Barcelona if he meets them again.”

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