Phil Jones rose to the occasion on his first Manchester United appearance for two years against Wolves on Monday night.
The 29-year-old partnered Raphael Varane in central defence and was arguably United’s standout performer.
Many fans feared the worst when they saw Jones’ name on the teamsheet in the absence of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly. The much-maligned England international, who has been heavily criticised for large parts of his career, hadn’t played for 712 days.
Had Wolves not scored their winning goal in the 82nd minute, there’s every chance that Jones would have been named as Sky Sports’ Man of the Match at full-time.
Yes, he’s only played the one game but still, the average ratings of United’s star players are damning and sum up what has been a disastrous season for the Red Devils.
Let’s check out the list in full:
25. Anthony Elanga | Average rating: 6.22
The 19-year-old striker has only made a couple of substitute appearances this term.
24. Eric Bailly | Average rating: 6.28
Reportedly unhappy with his game-time this season. Scored an own goal in November’s Manchester derby.
23. Donny van de Beek | Average rating: 6.31
Still can’t get a game following the arrival of Ralf Rangnick in place of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Likely to leave Old Trafford in 2022.
22. Anthony Martial | Average rating: 6.33
Wants to leave Man Utd as soon as possible.
21. Jesse Lingard | Average rating: 6.37
Another player who could leave Old Trafford this month, either on loan or permanently.
20. Jadon Sancho | Average rating: 6.44
Failed to hit the ground running in his debut season with the Red Devils.
19. Edinson Cavani | Average rating: 6.51
Isn’t fully happy in Manchester and likely to leave in the summer.
18. Victor Lindelof | Average rating: 6.51
Has never fully convinced since joining Man United.
17. Marcus Rashford | Average rating: 6.53
The England international’s performance levels have been way below-par this season.
16. Daniel James (now at Leeds United) | Average rating: 6.53
Made a couple of appearances in August before joining Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds.
15. Harry Maguire | Average rating: 6.55
The £80 million centre-back has struggled badly this season and looks bereft of confidence.
14. Diogo Dalot | Average rating: 6.58
Has done okay when he’s played.
13. Luke Shaw | Average rating: 6.59
Like Maguire, Shaw has suffered from a post-Euro 2020 hangover.
12. Nemanja Matic | Average rating: 6.64
The 33-year-old midfielder’s lack of mobility is an issue.
11. David de Gea | Average rating: 6.76
The Spanish goalkeeper has produced some excellent displays of late. One of United’s biggest performers this season.
10. Raphael Varane | Average rating: 6.80
The revered French defender has looked shaky since completing his summer move from Real Madrid.
9. Fred | Average rating: 6.83
The Brazil international continues to divide opinion but at least brings some energy and tenacity to United’s midfield when he plays.
8. Scott McTominay | Average rating: 6.84
Another player who divides opinion, McTominay works hard and has the potential to develop into a quality central midfielder.
7. Aaron Wan-Bissaka | Average rating: 6.86
Is Wan-Bissaka good enough to hold down the right-back spot at Man Utd? Some fans have already lost faith in the 24-year-old.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo | Average rating: 6.94
Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in 21 games since completing a shock return to Old Trafford in the summer. But has the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who turns 37 in February, made United a worse team?
5. Mason Greenwood | Average rating: 6.97
The 20-year-old has blown hot and cold so far this season but there’s no doubt that he’s a huge talent.
4. Bruno Fernandes | Average rating: 6.99
It’s hard not to feel that Ronaldo’s arrival has led to Bruno Fernandes’ downturn in form. The Portuguese midfielder was so effective before his compatriot joined.
3. Alex Telles | Average rating: 7.01
Telles is a decent back-up option for Luke Shaw and produced one of the team’s best goals of the season so far against Villarreal in September.
2. Paul Pogba | Average rating: 7.14
Pogba has only made a handful of appearances this season due to injuries and is expected to leave the club at the end of the campaign.
1. Phil Jones | Average rating: 7.23
Currently United’s highest-rated player for the 2021-22 campaign following his impressive showing against Wolves. Will he now get a run of games?
Will Ralf Rangnick last at Man Utd? (Football Terrace)
Can you get 20/20 on our 2021 Ultimate Football Quiz?