Sunderland’s Billy Jones is British bulldog in Premier League safety fight

Billy Jones in action against Liverpool

Billy Jones in action against Liverpool

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Billy Jones has brought bit of “Britishness” to Sunderland in their hour of need.

The defender has replaced Javier Manquillo at the back for the Black Cats and been instrumental in the side’s return to form.

I had watched him a lot earlier in his career and always thought he was a steady-Eddie type of player

DAVID MOYES

Boss David Moyes said the Spaniard, on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid, had not particularly done anything wrong in his time on Wearside.

But the Scot had a hunch for the 29-year-old who he felt could be a British bulldog-type figure for a side trying to fight their way out of trouble.

“Billy has been playing well,” said Moyes.

“His form has been very good but I have not been surprised.

“When I came into the club there was a feeling that Billy had not done that well.

“I had known him, not personally, but I had watched him a lot at Preston North End and West Brom earlier in his career and always thought he was a steady-Eddie type of player.

“He wouldn’t let you down too often.

“Everybody told me in the summer we were desperate for a right-back so we did [bring in Manquillo on loan].

“It was his injuries that were holding Billy back. His Britishness is what we needed.

“I don’t think Javier has played badly, I just felt we just needed to find another solution for what we were doing.

“That is where we are at, at the moment.”

Jones has certainly not let Moyes down since his return to the starting XI.

The 29-year-old missed the start of the season after a troublesome hip problem reared its ugly head in the summer camp in France.

After recovering, he was an unused sub in the EFL Cup victory at QPR, before captaining the U23 side in the Checkatrade Trophy win at Hartlepool United in early October.

Having proven his fitness, he returned to the Premier League squad and came on as a sub at Stoke and West Ham.

The ex-West Brom defender started in the EFL Cup exit at Southampton but had done enough to convince Moyes that he had earned a place in the Premier League XI.

His tenacity has been evident, but so too has his willingness to get forward, working superbly down the right at Bournemouth in tandem with Duncan Watmore and almost being in during the 3-0 win over Hull.

While he did not get the chance to gallop forward at Liverpool, his presence will be crucial this Saturday against Leicester City at the Stadium of Light.