Phil Jones produced arguably his best performance in a Manchester United shirt against Real Madrid last night, as the Spanish giants were held to a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League last-16.

The former Blackburn man is beginning to prove his worth and based on this showing, he could be the long-term answer to United’s midfield problems.

At a fee believed to worth up to £17m, some of United’s detractors raised a few eyebrows when Sir Alex Ferguson signed Jones, having made his debut for Blackburn in 2009 and playing just 35 times for the Ewood Park outfit.

But despite a few injury problems, Jones has never looked back and has put in a number of impressive displays in the centre of defence, at right-back and in midfield.  

Perhaps in danger of being seen as a utility man, Jones seems to have staked a claim as first-choice alongside Michael Carrick in United’s midfield in recent weeks, with Sir Alex seemingly putting his trust in the 20-year-old during the big occasions.

Preston-born Jones was immaculate against a Madrid midfield that included Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel di Mario and later, Luka Modric.

He has already played 39 times for United and earned five England caps to date, with more to follow based on recent performances.

Jones looks the type of all-rounder who can play anywhere and will be a fixture in the United side for many years to come, with his versatility being a real bonus to England too.


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