Jonno on Tommo

Last updated : 13 August 2004 By The Rambler

Rams central defender has been around the block enough times to know a few things about defenders and defending. In a career that has taken in Birmingham and Notts county Jonno has played along many central defensive partners, and has always given his best whoever is next to him.

In a career at Pride Park of 12 months he has seen a number of different players accompanying him.

The latest is Tom Huddlestone and if the experts are to be believed could go on to be one of the best.

Although debuting for the first team last season in midfield the club think that Huddlestone’s best position ultimately could be centre half.

He has all the attributes that Burley looks for in that position. He can command in the air and has plenty of skill to play the ball out of defence.

Defensive frailties, especially on the road, cost the Rams dearly last term with maximum points only gathered twice away from home.

What, then, was Johnson’s assessment of the youngster? "He’s going to be a hell of a player when he finishes growing. He can play with his right foot, his left foot. He’s played on the right wing, full back, and last night at centre half. It’s just finding what is the best position for him but he is an immense talent."

"I’ve played alongside some good defenders, but he is getting there. He’s young and he’s still got a lot to learn. I played along some really good centre-halves like Craig Short and Dean Yates. As well as Gary Ablett, and Gary Rowett. Not to mention Steve Bruce."

"There’s some good players there, but he’s not far behind them. As a footballer he’s probably up there with the best."

"I’ve played with some good centre backs. Hopefully I’ve learnt a lot which I can pass on to the youngsters."

Despite the disappointing results Johnson thinks that the club is close to success, "we had a meeting after the game as we always do about the positives and negatives. The conclusion was that we would do much of the same on Saturday as we did against Leicester. We played probably the best football we have since I arrived, and the only thing lacking was goals."

"The gaffer said to do just the same but get the goals."

"There’s plenty to be encouraged about. When the ball goes out of play in the last 5 minutes and no one is leaving it s a good sign. It was a good performance and people wanted to watch us."

Ipswich are a good footballing side so it will be an entertaining game. We’ll have home advantage and we are confident even after 2 home defeats. Everyone is going into this in a buoyant mood."