Centre-half says Jones has become vital part of team
BILLY Jones’ emergence as a fans’ favourite has got the thumbs up from Jonas Olsson who claims the right-back has become a vital part of the back four.
The free transfer from Preston has firmly established himself in Steve Clarke’s defence during this calendar year with a string of marauding displays.
Olsson says the 26-year-old deserves all the credit he is getting and believes his consistency is down to the Barclays Premier League knowhow he has gained since moving to The Hawthorns in the summer of 2011.
“Billy’s form has a little bit to do with experience,” said the centre-half.
“When you get to play consistently and do well, your confidence grows and you feed off that.
“Billy feels like a really vital part of the team now.
“He’s a good professional, a good player and a threat going forward.”
Jones and Olsson helped Steve Clarke’s side record their third league clean sheet of the season in the goalless draw at Stoke.
The Baggies have conceded just six goals in eight top-flight matches and Olsson believes they are quite literally in good ‘shape’.
“It is three clean sheets and not a lot of goals conceded from open play,” he said.
“We feel solid and I think we’ve been solid now for a few years.
“There was a down period in the last month or so of last season but I think that had a lot to do with us being in mid-table and playing teams who were either fighting for the title or fighting for their lives.
“Our shape is good. Even though we didn’t put our chances away on Saturday, we felt solid and the point was never in doubt, so that’s a strength.
“Overall, we are heading in the right direction.
“We’re five games unbeaten and we’d like to keep that run going.”
Olsson had an eye on the World Cup qualifying play-offs draw yesterday which wasn’t kind to his country, with Sweden being paired against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
“Every player’s dream is to play at a World Cup, and playing one in Brazil would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he added.
“I am really looking forward to the challenge of getting there.”