KARL Robinson believes the full debut made by Nico Jones on Saturday will do the teenager wonders for the future.

The 17-year-old defender was handed a first start in the Sky Bet League One clash at home to Doncaster Rovers.

Jones produced a solid display at the heart of the United defence, but it was his second-half own goal which gave the visitors a point in a 2-2 draw.

However, U’s boss Robinson said the reaction he displayed after that disappointment went a long way to showing just why he is so highly thought of.

“Nico was outstanding,” he said. “It sounds a terrible thing to say, but I was really happy with the own goal.

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“You sink or swim after that.

“Too many young players get it too easy with the modern day academy.

“You rarely get put face down in the mud emotionally and mentally. But he has been.

“He’s 17 years old. To score the own goal and then step inside and play with the outside of your left foot with your next touch, that’s brave.

“To win your next header like he did – the kid’s a real talent and will be a top, top player.”

Robinson admitted Jones was deflated in the dressing room afterwards, but believes he will learn so much from his first full game.

“Nico is disappointed, of course,” United’s boss said.

IN PICTURES: Gallery from Saturday's game

“He scored an own goal that cost us the win if you like, but that’s not something we get carried away about.

“We will look after him over the next 24/48 hours. He will get a phone call from me tonight and we will have a conversation about things.

“He was my man of the match because of how he dealt with things after the goal. It will make him much stronger.”

United’s performance deserved more than a point, with Robinson’s side having two goals wrongly disallowed by the officials.

But the result continues their strong run of form, with their display being watched for the first time by the entire U’s board.

Erick Thohir and Horst Geicke were appointed last year, but this was the first occasion since then that either have attended a game.

Thohir is a former Inter Milan chairman, but Robinson revealed he had been impressed by United’s display.

“I think any neutral would enjoy watching Oxford United play at the moment,” the manager said.

“But the board are very excited. When you have a person who has come from Inter Milan there and he is saying about how nice our style is to see, that’s good to hear.”