Scholes: Phil Jones not clever enough to play centre-back

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Manchester United legend Paul Scholes believes former teammate Phil Jones is ‘not clever enough’ to play centre-back for club or country.

Jones lined up at right-back for England in their friendly against Ireland this afternoon at the Aviva Stadium, and speaking to ITV before the match, Scholes said he thinks it will be his long-term position.

Jones has been used at centre back and as a central holding midfielder for both England and Manchester United, but Scholes believes he is not disciplined enough tactically to fulfil those roles at the highest level.

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“I just think at centre-back, when he is playing against clever forwards, he tends to get dragged out of position quite easily,” Scholes said.

“At right back you still need to be clever positionally but I think he can use his pace and power and he hasn't got a bad delivery either.

“When he first came to Manchester United he was a right back, he played right back all the time. He has got strength and power and he can get up and down the pitch.

“I just think at centre-half he is not quite clever enough to do it.”

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Jones has been used in several positions because of his versatility, but many believe his long-term future belongs in the centre of defence.

It would be fair to say that the former-Blackburn Rovers youngster has not quite come on as hoped after Sir Alex Ferguson signed him as a teenager and described him as potentially one of the club’s greatest players in the future.

He has struggled for fitness and form at Manchester United, but reminds a firm favourite of Roy Hodgson’s for England and is likely to feature against Slovenia in their next match.

What do you think? Is Scholes right about Jones?

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Paul Scholes
Phil Jones
Manchester United

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