Defender Phil Jones sends strong message amid doubts over future at Manchester United
Speaking to the club’s official website, Manchester United defender Phil Jones revealed his ambition for the future and hinted that he was here to stay, despite not making too many appearances this season and ranking far behind in the pecking order in defence.
Jones is one of the most senior players in the first-team squad, having made the move to Manchester back in 2011 after impressing as a youngster at Blackburn Rovers. Along with David de Gea, he is the only remaining player to be part of Man United’s last Premier League-winning team.
The Englishman said that his ambition is to try and play as many games as he could, saying that he knows he’s ready for more action and capable of playing despite remaining on the sidelines for long due to injury.
“[My ambition is] Just try to play as many games as I can. Try to be involved in things, to be part of the games. I know, when you’ve been out for a while, people think yeah, he’s been out for a while but I’m ready. I know I’m capable of playing.”
The defender has had a torrid time dealing with injuries of late, with the 30-year-old making a surprise return to the line-up when he started against Wolves in January. It was his first appearance for the club in almost two years, and he got warm applause from the Old Trafford crowd who cheered on the defender who made his comeback for the first team in the game.
“Why I am here”
The centre-back was hugely impressive in the game considering it was his first taste of action at such a high level in years, but unfortunately for him, he was on the end of a 1-0 defeat. Since then, the player has only made one more appearance, coming off the bench against Middlesbrough in a FA Cup tie.
Jones, whose contract at the club expires in the summer of 2023, said that he wants more action and not just a one-off against Wolves, hoping that he could get more game time towards the end of the season and show people that he deserves to be at the Theatre of Dreams.
“Hopefully, I proved that against Wolves. I don’t want that to be a one-off. I want more. I’ll keep myself in the best shape I can so when the time comes, hopefully I’ll get some game-time towards the end of the season and I can show people why I am here.”
Despite not making any more appearances since the game against Boro, which United lost, the Englishman has been a regular part of the matchday squads. He will be itching to get back out on the pitch again, with a desire to prove that he is still capable of playing at the highest level.
With the English side knocked out of other competitions like the FA Cup and Champions League, Jones only has an opportunity to prove his worth in the Premier League until the end of the season. Had we still been competing in the FA Cup or Champions League, perhaps we could have seen more of the defender.
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However, making an appearance in the top-flight is easier said than done, with stars like Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, and Raphael Varane taking up the positions. Despite their poor form this term, the manager has persisted with them, instead of giving other players like Jones or Eric Bailly a chance to impress.
In the one full appearance that Jones made, he was impressive in his role. Perhaps towards the end of the season, we should consider giving him a chance to keep the opposition out instead of our other first-choice defenders. However, only time will tell if Ralf Rangnick risks mixing up his team when a Champions League qualification spot is up for grabs.