After missing a good part of last season due to injury, Phil Jones hit the ground running by impressing in whichever role he was asked to play in by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Being one of the most versatile players to have played for United in a while, Jones usually plies his trade as a centre-back. He is extremely well built for a person of his age, and this holds him in good stead due to the physical nature of the Premier League.
He has also been played in the midfield as a defensive midfielder, and though he still needs to work on his attacking skills, he dictates play around him very well in that position, often stopping counter-attacks single-handedly.
Often played as a right-back in the absence of Rafael, he works well with the winger. He not only takes the ball forward at a frightening pace, he always falls back into his defensive position whenever his team loses the ball.
But his best quality by far is his man-marking. Employed in the midfield in the game against Real Madrid to stop Cristiano Ronaldo and as a right-back against Tottenham to stop Gareth Bale, he did a brilliant job of neutralising two of the fastest and deadliest goalscorers in the modern game.
His willingness to drop back every time along with his amazing stamina allows Michael Carrick to stay upfront for longer, thus playing the playmaker’s role in which he excelled in last season.
Jones could not play much for England last season due to recurring injuries, but if he can keep a check on his injuries he’ll surely be a regular on the England teamsheet as well, especially because England has a dearth of quality centre-backs after the retirement of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.
Jones is maturing very well for his age, and at 21 he still has a lot to learn. But his strong-willed character, never-say-die attitude and ability to lead with example puts him in a great position to captain both his club and country in the future.
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