Albion boss Steve Clarke believes Billy Jones is improving all the time after the young defender cemented his place in the Baggies team.
Jones has emerged as Clarke’s first-choice right-back this season after carrying his impressive form from the end of the last campaign into the new term.
And Clarke believes there is still more to come from the former Crewe and Preston man, who was playing second fiddle to Steven Reid a year ago.
“Since I came here last year Billy has been improving all the time,” said Clarke.
“He put in a lot of good performances last year and there was a good competition between him and Steven for the right-back spot.
“This year Billy has just managed to get himself ahead of Steven with good performances.
“He is solid defensively and still gives us creativity going forward on occasions.
“He is starting to learn better when to go forward and when to stay and I think his defensive work has improved a lot.
“I just think he’s getting more experienced the more games he plays.
“He is obviously an intelligent person and if you speak to Billy you find he is a bit of a deep thinker, and the more he plays the more comfortable he feels and his performances reflects that.
“I read that he said he was never going to slide tackle in the box again and it shows somebody who thinks a lot about the game. If you think about the game you can only improve.”
Clarke, himself an ex-right-back, has overseen a steep improvement in Jones’s fortunes since the Shrewbury-born defender’s worst day as a Baggies player in last season’s defeat at Fulham.
But the Scot believes all of the credit for Jones’s improvement must go to the player himself.
“Hopefully at certain times I have been able to say the right things to Billy but the credit always has to go to the player,” Clarke said.