May 15, 2021

Man Utd

News

What’s happened to the Man Utd man Ferguson said could be the ‘best ever’

2 min read

Manchester United fans would be forgiven for forgetting that Phil Jones was still on the club’s books, having not represented the side in close to 15 months.

On the scoresheet in the 6-0 demolition of Tranmere Rovers in January last year, the former England defender looks set to depart Old Trafford in the near future without much of a fanfare.

Injury issues have taken their toll but, in truth, it’s probably not impacted opportunities significantly as Jones was already behind Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pecking order.

While Solskjaer has been open to the possibility of a return, United‘s push to land a new central-defensive partner for Maguire this summer surely means it’s the end of the road for Jones.


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It’s a strange sequence of events for a 29-year-old who has reached a decade with the club, venturing into a period of his career where he should be in his prime – and it’s significantly less than many expected for him.

Upon his arrival from Blackburn Rovers in 2011, Jones was touted as the next great United defender and the long-term successor to Rio Ferdinand, with an abundance of praise from Sir Alex Ferguson.

“Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player. I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, no matter where we play him,” the legendary boss said after United clinched the Premier League in 2013.

“At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch. He has such a massive influence, with his instinct and reading of the game. He has a drive about him.”

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With over 200 appearances for United, Jones will finish with a respectable career at Old Trafford but a case of missed opportunities and issues will inevitably lead to questions of ‘what if?’

Earlier this year, Jones secured the unwanted record of missing more games through injury (228) than he has played for United (224).

Handed a new four-year deal in February 2019, tying him down until 2023 and with the club having an option to extend the contract for another 12 months, shifting Jones may not be an easy task for United if suitors are not forthcoming.

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