Phil Jones was tipped for greatness by Manchester United fable Sir Alex Ferguson aft nan centre-back was snapped up from Blackburn Rovers backmost successful nan summertime of 2011.
The highly-rated defender had already won plentifulness of plaudits aft breaking into nan first-team fold astatine Ewood Park arsenic a teenager. But 2 years aft his blockbuster move to Old Trafford had materialised, Ferguson went 1 further by suggesting that Jones could moreover spell connected to become United's "best ever player".
Unfortunately, Ferguson's prediction has not aged well: now aged 31, Jones has started conscionable 2 games successful nan past 3 years owed to a semipermanent knee wounded and has not featured astatine each nether Erik 10 Hag this season.
Jones was moreover amongst a fistful of players who were reportedly axed from United's first-team dressing room earlier this play to make abstraction for an influx of summertime signings.
Despite nan truth Jones has besides been omitted from nan club's Premier League and their Europa League squads this term, a move distant successful nan January transportation model grounded to materialise. That intends Jones is group to stay connected United's books - astatine slightest until nan extremity of nan season, erstwhile his existent statement expires.
Injuries person plagued Jones passim his Old Trafford career; he has been restricted to conscionable 16 starting appearances since he penned a four-and-a-half twelvemonth woody backmost successful February 2019.
His past quality for nan nine occurred backmost successful January 2022, erstwhile he was a astonishment starter successful a 1-0 conclusion against Wolves astatine Old Trafford. But erstwhile again, injuries person prevented a subordinate who was held successful specified precocious esteem by 1 of Manchester United's top ever managers from kicking on.
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Injury issues besides look to person prevented him from making an belief connected a caller regime, too; speaking a fortnight ago, Ten Hag confirmed that Jones has been injured each play - which could besides beryllium why a January move grounded to materialise.
However, nan erstwhile Ajax main besides downplayed nan likelihood of nan beleaguered defender returning to make an effect earlier nan extremity of nan season, indicating that Jones' profession astatine Old Trafford is each but over.
"For nan full play he's injured," Ten Hag said of Jones. "I can't opportunity [if Jones will play again this season]. What I tin opportunity is that he's not disposable for training since nan first time of training this play truthful I deliberation there's not an opportunity for you to retrieve quickly and beryllium disposable quickly."
It feels inevitable that Jones and Manchester United will now portion ways sooner alternatively than later. And aft struggling pinch truthful galore injuries complete nan past fewer years, hopefully a caller commencement astatine a caller nine will springiness Jones nan opportunity to walk nan twilight years of his profession playing shot again.