NEW Boston United signing Mark Jones has cut his teeth against some of the Premier League’s more physically imposing defenders... and now he is ready to run rings round backlines from the Blue Square Bet North.
The 22-year-old striker joined the Pilgrims last week.
He spent the second half of last season with rivals Corby Town, netting five times in 15 appearances.
But before that he spent part of the campaign on trial with League Two Crewe Alexandra.
And it was then he found himself thrust into battle against some household names.
“I was back and forth to Crewe four or five times last season, playing for the reserves against different sides like Wolves and Macclesfield,” he told The Standard.
Most youngsters may be a little intimidated discovering they were being marked by the likes of Richard Stearman, George Elokobi and Jody Craddock... but Jones described the challenge as ‘fun’.
He added: “Wolves had a game the day before and played some of their first-teamers who didn’t feature on that night.
“I was playing against Stearman, Craddock and Elokobi.
“That was a fun experience.
“It was a good personal experience and good to know I could look after myself physically against Premier League players.
“The feedback I got from Crewe was that I handled myself well.”
Jones also believed that his spell with Crewe made him a much sharper striker than when he had previously been turning out in the United Counties League for his hometown club Deeping Rangers.
Last season, player-manager Jason Lee finished as the Pilgrims’ only target man, after Mikel Suarez and Mickey Stones both left the club.
However, if Lee is hoping Jones is the perfect replacement for a more direct approach, he may come in for a shock.
Despite standing at 6ft 3 ins, the young striker says he prefers to play with the ball on the ground.
He added: “I wouldn’t class myself as a target man.
“I like to get on the ball and I like to play off the back of defenders.
“I’ve got a bit of pace about me and getting through balls in the final third will be great.
“I’m a big lad so I can win headers but there’s more to my game.”
However, his versatility could be a positive in the Blue Square Bet North, where the Pilgrims will face contrasting styles.
Jones, who turned down five other approaches for Boston, added: “In the Blue Square Bet North you have to take each game as it comes.
“Each team is different in its set-up. It can be physical, but sometimes games aren’t like that.”