And defender delighted to win his race with Ridgewell
BILLY Jones is delighted to be crowned the first Englishman to score for Albion this season - after netting his maiden Baggies goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle.
The 26-year-old’s 64th-minute strike added England to the list of nine other nations represented on the scoresheet for Steve Clarke’s side this term.
Jones joins Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Shane Long (Ireland), Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria), James Morrison and Graham Dorrans (Scotland), Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley (Northern Ireland), Zoltan Gera (Hungary), Youssouf Mulumbu (DR Congo), Marc-Antoine Fortune (French Guyana) and Gabriel Tamas (Romania) in Albion’s league of goalscoring nations.
The former Preston right-back had not scored since the Lilywhites won 3-0 at Scunthorpe in March 2011 and hopes Saturday's strike is the first of many to come for the Baggies.
“Yes, I’m obviously delighted,” said Jones.
“I’ve fluffed a few and keepers have made good saves so I’m delighted to have scored that first one.
“Hopefully I can score a few more now.
“I had one taken off me at Wigan and I was hoping it was going to be given to me.
“I was trying to pick out Longy and their player put it in the net.
“It would have been nice if they had given it me and I could say I had two goals, but I’m happy with this.”
He added: “I’m aware I’m the first Englishman to score for us and I’m happy to take the crown.
“It should’ve come a lot sooner for me.
“It was me and Liam Ridgwwell vying for it, I think we thought it would go down to penalties in the end.
“Then we’d have tossed a coin to see what happened.
“It’s always nice to get a goal as a full-back.”
Jones, who received four stitches to a cut on his leg after the game, also revealed fellow Englishman Ridgewell was ready to unveil a T-shirt had he scored before him.
“The kitman made him a T-shirt up,” he added.
“But he obviously had no faith that I was going to score!
“That’s what I’m going to tell him anyway as he didn’t do one for me.
“I think he thought I wouldn’t wear it, so he didn’t make one for me.
“It said something like ‘first English player to score’.
“It might have been a bit shorter and more catchy.”
The Shrewsbury-born defender insists Albion should have been awarded a first-half penalty – but concedes he may not have been fouled by James Perch even though referee Mike Jones awarded a free-kick.
“At the time I thought it might have been a fair tackle by Perch," said Jones.
“I said to the ref I definitely thought it was inside the box.
“If he made a first mistake of it being a free-kick, then the second one was that it was inside the box.
“Sometimes they get given.
“He deemed it as outside, we have to take it.”
And Jones says he is now more confident in his ability to play in the top-flight - after stepping up from the Championship on a Bosman in July, 2011.
“The important thing was to feel like a Premier League player - and I do feel more so now," he insisted.
“I feel like I’ve learned and I’m improving in this league.
“I feel I’ve proved something to myself.
“Like so many Championship players, you feel you’re ready to make that step up.
“You’re playing consistently well at that level and you think you might be ready for the Premier League.
“But there’s always that doubt until you’ve played that first Premier League game.
“Fortunately for me now, I’ve played a good few Premier League games on the bounce.
“I wouldn’t say I’m established, but I'm someone who’s keen to carry on improving in this league.”