Club Focus – Blackburn – Young starlet signs new contract

Blackburn Rovers’ academy graduate Phil Jones believes his future is bright at the Lancashire club. Jones, who turned 19 on Monday, was speaking after recently signing a new contract which will keep him at Ewood Park until 2016. The Preston-born defender has been a shining light for Rovers ever since his emergence on to the Premier League stage last season and bar a current spell on the sidelines, Jones has been an ever-present for the Blues.

And the youngster is hoping to return to action well ahead of schedule, in time for the local derby against Blackpool at Ewood Park in the middle of March. Jones’ excellent performances mean he is currently regarded as one of the hottest properties in English football, and the versatile Englishman is reported to have attracted the interest of a number of high-profile Premier League clubs last summer.

Speaking to the club’s official website about Jones’ decision to extend his Rovers stay, Kean said: “To see Phil sign for the long term is brilliant news and he has a great future not only with us but also at international level. He is a top young player and we did have tentative enquiries for him from other clubs. That is only to be expected, but we are very happy indeed that he has chosen to stay where he is.”

Meanwhile, January signing Mauro Formica scored on his Rovers debut for the Reserves against Everton. The Argentinean ace netted just after the 15 minute mark and the attacking midfielder will be happy to open his account for the Blues. Despite signing on the last day of the transfer window, Formica has not been part of Rovers’ Premier League exploits just yet, with Kean admitting a couple of weeks ago that the new boy would need to be toughened up before appearing in the top-flight. It is thought that Formica could be in contention to face Aston Villa this weekend.

Speaking of the South American, recent reports suggest that the club’s new owners – Indian poultry giant’s Venky’s – are considering making moves for other talents on the continent. Santos forward Ganso and hugely-talented striker Neymar are thought to be targets as well as a number of Brazilian superstars, including Kaka and Robinho. Venky’s reported interest in these players comes just a month after their well-documented interest in former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho and LA Galaxy’s David Beckham.

But these reports must be taken with a pinch of salt. The stories will attract the attention of national newspapers, who will in turn ridicule Venky’s, however there is no credible source behind these rumours, therefore unless a representative of the company decides to speak about the issue in public, supporters cannot begin to dream about Kaka wearing a blue and white shirt. Unlike the scenario concerning an ageing Ronaldinho, Kaka would command an extravagant fee and high wages. Although Venky’s are still on the hunt for a marquee signing, it remains unclear whether they can afford the Real Madrid midfielder. These rumours will undoubtedly make Rovers the laughing stock of the nation once again, but with no credible source behind these reports, any such ridicule would be premature.

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