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Jonathan Jones stepping into leadership role on defense

first_imgAUBURN – After two injury-filled seasonsJonathan Jonesfinally got to show his full array of skills last season.A Second Team All-SEC honoree last season, Jones lived up to the potential he showed in flashes as a freshman and sophomore, making 36 tackles to go with six interceptions, which tied for the team lead and are the most by any returning player.His production makes Jones the ball hawk in a reloading defense but he doesn’t merely want to keep his starting job though, he expects more from himself as he enters his senior season.“You never really get complacent because when you get complacent that’s when you fall back,” Jones said. “You definitely have a chance to look back at things I did wrong last year, and I can definitely improve on that. That’s been my focus.”Even as Auburn opens spring, Jones is “slowed” due to a foot injury that’s “nothing serious,” according to defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who is expecting to leave Jones on an island more often than not.“Jonathan is an experienced player, a very explosive player, he covers well on the top end, he’s got really good ball skills, he can finish on balls down the field,” Muschamp said. “In our scheme he’ll probably maybe be in a little more 50/50 ball situations down the field the way we plan on playing.“A lot of that will be determined in who the other corner is. If we can’t cover then we won’t be in many 50/50 balls, we’ll be playing more split-safety.”It might be difficult to understand how a team leader could emerge from a secondary that struggled mightily in the second half of the season, but Jones was one of Auburn’s most consistent defensive performers.He was among the contingent of current players to watch his former teammates during Auburn’s Pro Day earlier this month, letting the event he’ll be a part of a year from now serve as motication.“You’ve got to lead by example,” Jones said. “Every day we all come in as a group and work, challenge each other, compete with each other. I see myself able to look over some of the younger guys from my experience and talk to them.”As Muschamp tries to lead another turnaround of a struggling defense, he’ll need to count on players like Jones to serve as field generals.There’s no shortage of motivation from Jones.“We weren’t really happy with the season that we had, and we felt like we sold ourselves short,” he said. “So definitely we had to get back to the basics and the little things – flying around, effort, energy — all the little things.”last_img read more

QPR star Eze in England Under-20 squad

first_imgSee also:Mount scores winner in England Under-21 victoryLampard waiting to hear from Chelsea on Mount and TomoriChelsea’s Mount and Barkley named in England squadHemed fit to start for QPR against DerbyEze’s three big steps from Millwall reject to England Under-20 call-up Ebere Eze has impressed for QPRQPR’s Ebere Eze has been included in the England Under-20 squad.The 20-year-old forward, snapped up by Rangers after being released by Millwall in 2016, has been called up after a series of impressive performances in the Championship. The squad for matches against Italy and the Czech Republic also includes Chelsea duo Jay Dasilva and Reece James as well as goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe of Brentford.AdChoices广告The game against Italy will take place at AFC Flyde on Thursday 11 October and the match against the Czechs is in Budejovice the following Monday.Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, Jake Clarke-Salter and Fikayo Tomori have been named in the England Under-21 squad along with Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon and Brentford defender Ezri Konsa.Aidy Boothroyd’s side will face Andorra and Scotland in European Under-21 qualifiers needing just a point to guarantee a place at next year’s tournament in Italy.They will play Andorra at Chesterfield on Thursday 11 October and Scotland at Hearts’ Tynecastle ground the following Tuesday.And Callum Hudson-Odoi is among five Chelsea players included in England’s Under-19 squad for games against Portugal and Macedonia.Young Blues Marc Guehi, Tariq Lamptey, Conor Gallagher and George McEachran are also included, as is Fulham’s Steven Sessegnon. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more