Phil Jones: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Phil Jones
VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 12: Phil Jones of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League match between Valencia v Manchester United at the Estadio de Mestalla on December 12, 2018 in Valencia Spain (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Phil Jones is one of the last remaining current Manchester United players to have a Premier League winner’s medal to his name. And, to put it kindly, it is quite a surprise that he has so.

Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011, Jones was part of a mediocre and ageing squad led to the Premier League title by Ferguson’s man-management and Robin van Persie’s goals in 2013. This prompted the legendary United boss to declare in April 2013 that Jones “could be our (United’s) best ever player”. Ferguson added that given Jones’ versatility of being able to play anywhere on the pitch, he could be a “phenomenon”. In 2018, United fans are hoping Phil Jones stays anywhere but on the pitch in a United shirt.

Phil Jones: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Ticking Time Bomb

After scoring yet another entertaining own goal in Manchester United colours against Valencia this week, United fans were reminded of the worst of the England international. For any other country, it would almost be a shoo-in that Jones would not have a single international cap. However, given the sorry state of affairs in central defence that England has seen over the last five-ten years, it has been left with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling earning (used very loosely) a combined total of 58 caps.

The former Blackburn man usually has an assured finish in front of goal – it’s just unfortunate that it’s David De Gea or Sergio Romero on the receiving end most of the time. Some of his own goals are downright impressive. Let’s not forget the peach at Stamford Bridge last year which was, unfortunately, ruled out by another goal-machine, Alvaro Morata, selfishly pushing Jones out of the way in an attempt to get to the ball first. In January this year, in a league game against Tottenham Hotspur, there was also Jones turning Kieran Trippier’s cross into his own net with a sweeping side-footed finish, leaving the best keeper in the world, David De Gea, rooted to the spot.

At the time of writing, Jones has a fantastic record of ten goals and nine assists in a United shirt – although admittedly half of those goals were for the opposition. Phil Jones is simply the epitome of Manchester United post-Sir Alex Ferguson: mediocre, unbearable yet entertaining for the banter. It’s hard to believe that this player was once rated so highly by the greatest manager to ever live.

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