Billy Jones has expressed his gratitude to England manager Roy Hodgson for giving him his chance in the Premier League at West Bromwich Albion.
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Jones, 26, had just been relegated to League One with Preston North End when then-Albion manager Hodgson took him to The Hawthorns in 2011 -- the same summer in which Ipswich centre-back Gareth McAuley became a second low-key free transfer to arrive at the Baggies.
Both players have gone on to impress, and on the eve of England’s vital World Cup qualifier at home to Poland on Tuesday, Jones has thanked Hodgson for the effect he has had on his career.
“Roy was massive for me,” he told the Birmingham Mail. “To Roy and [former Albion sporting and technical director] Dan Ashworth -- the main people involved in that move -- I have to say thank you.
“They saw enough to give me the chance of playing in the Premier League, although I’d just been playing at Preston, a team relegated from the Championship.
“I can just imagine how it must have looked to the fans -- signing a lad just relegated to League One when Albion had just finished 12th in the Premier League and wanted to improve. I’m grateful and thankful I was given that chance.”
The Shrewsbury-born full-back recently played his 50th top-flight game for the Baggies and has started every match this season apart from the Capital One Cup tie at home to Arsenal -- with his main rival for a starting spot, Steven Reid, continuing to be troubled by injuries.