Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped Phil Jones to become one of Manchester United's greatest ever players.

The 21-year-old has endured a difficult season to date, blighted with niggling injuries that have restricted him to just 16 starts in all competitions.

Ferguson has noticed the natural ability, desire and versatility in Jones - and has played him in numerous positions during his time at the Theatre of Dreams.

Jones has played at right-back, centre-back, defensive midfield and as a more neutral central-midfielder. 

The worrying thing for Jones is being too versatile. Being able to play in multiple positions at a club like United could hamper his chances to make a claim for a regular first-team spot in a specific position.

Ferguson showered Jones with praise after United were officially named champions with their 3-0 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League. 

"Jones is going to be a phenomenal player," said Ferguson. "He has a fantastic influence, no matter where he plays.

"He has an instinct for the game and a drive about him.

"I have no idea where his best position is. He could play anywhere on the pitch. But he will be one of the best players we have ever had."

It was an incredible claim from Ferguson to say of the young Phil Jones, who had just won his first Premier League medal. 

But praise like that from the United boss came at an odd time.

The highlight of Jones' season was his performance in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid. Coming off an impressive performance in a similar role, man-marking Everton's Marouane Fellaini, Jones was set out to implement the same job on former United hero Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was forced out to the right-hand side as Jones nullified the threat of the Real Madrid forward, where he would eventually score. 

Jones has excelled in the centre of midfield for Manchester United this season, drawing comparisons to the great Duncan Edwards. However, Jones himself believes his future lies at centre-back. 

The future of the Manchester United youngster looks promising either way. You can tell Jones is the sort of footballer who just loves to play the game.

But Sir Alex and himself should focus on nailing down a specific position for the 21-year-old, if he is to truly become one of Manchester United's greatest ever players.

 

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Football
Phil Jones
Manchester United