Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal announced Wayne Rooney as the club's new captain last night, but there's another member of the Dutchman's squad that has to prove his leadership skills in 2014/15.
Phil Jones may have struggled to hold down a place at Old Trafford in recent years, but the centre-half looks set to play a key role under the new regime. And Jones must quickly stamp his mark on the first team, and become United's leader at the back.
After all, many have tipped him to become Manchester United's club captain one day: perhaps he could even take over Rooney further down the line.
With a back-three now installed at Old Trafford, United are in need of someone to marshall their defence. No longer can the likes of Smalling and Co. rely upon Vidic and Ferdinand - it's time for the youngsters to step up.
Someone has to, so why can't that man be Jones?
Of course, Rooney will lead from the front - he will work up and down the pitch, and will fly into every tackle possible. But, he can't marshal United's defence, and he won't be able to see everything on the pitch whilst he's on the lookout for a goal.
Jones, on the other hand, can do that, and must stamp his mark on the team. Van Gaal still hasn't landed a centre-half in this transfer window, so the pressure is well and truly on Jones and Co. to step up. It was only a couple of years ago that Manchester United's legendary ex-manager Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that Jones can become a great at the club.
Jones has certainly proved his credentials in pre-season. In fact, so have his defensive teammates. In six pre-season outings, the Red Devils have conceded just five goals - and three of them have been penalties.
Last night, as United just about saw off Spanish outfit Valencia, Jones was named man of the match. He was in fine form, and put in a number of key challenges to help Van Gaal to a first win at Old Trafford.
He's looked solid throughout the summer, but must mature very quickly in the coming weeks and months. No longer can he fly into tackles and make rash decisions. He has to use his brain to help himself and his teammates.
This weekend, the serious business will begin for Jones, as the Red Devils take on Welsh outfit Swansea City at Old Trafford. United will be desperate to get off to the perfect start, as they look to put last season's misery behind them.
Another season without Champions League football could have disastrous consequences for the Red Devils, and it's crucial for Jones to come of age.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Jones will step up this season? Have your say below!
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