NICO Jones will captain a strong Oxford United aged 17 tonight as they visit Crawley Town in the Trophy.

Boss Karl Robinson informed the highly-rated centre back at training yesterday, making him what is thought to be the club’s youngest captain.

Jones was thrilled with the decision and will line up alongside regular skipper John Mousinho, who at 33 is almost twice his age.

The teenager, who made three senior appearances at the end of last season, said: “I couldn’t stop smiling (when Robinson announced the move), but I was also nervous because it’s a big responsibility.

“Since I stepped into the first team he (Mousinho) has been helping me and talking me through the things I need to improve on.

“He’ll be a big help.”

Jones is seen as a star of the future, but United are keen to bring him out of his shell.

Also read: FA CUP DRAW - Oxford United away in the second round

And Robinson revealed one routine they have introduced is for the defender to come in every day with a piece of trivia for coach Derek Fazackerley.

The U’s boss said: “Every day Nico has to come into the office in front of the players and has to tell us a fact about the world that Faz doesn’t know.

“If Faz knows then Nico has to do press-ups. It’s important he has an ability to speak to an adult.

“I think young people tend to text when they’re sat next to you or talk to your feet.

“He’s a bit scared of Faz, but that’s good, when Faz came through as a player it was about putting your head where it hurts.

“That’s why he’s vital for Nico’s development.”

He added: “We think there’s more to come.

“I’ve never been embarrassed of forcing something on a player when I think it’s right.

“There are players I still think can’t play because I think they’ll fall short if you push them too soon.”

With the scheduled home game this weekend against Ipswich Town postponed by the visitors’ international call-ups, the trip to Sussex is the U’s last game until November 23.

It means the plan to field a side of largely under 23 players has been shelved.

Anyone who did not start Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup tie at Hayes & Yeading United is in the frame to play.

Rob Hall is one of those and after scoring as a substitute at the weekend the winger is eager for a seventh start of the season.

With United already guaranteed of second place and Crawley eliminated, there is likely to be a small crowd at the Broadfield Stadium.

But Hall said: “You have to find the extra five per cent you normally get from the crowd from within yourself.

“As a professional you need a mentality that whether there’s 30,000 there or 30, you have to put the same performance in.

“I want to play every minute if I can.

“For players like me it’s another opportunity to go and put in a performance to show the gaffer why I should be playing.”