Phil Jones has been used in a variety of different roles for Manchester United but where is he at his best?
Phil Jones is one of the utility men of Manchester United. The sort of player who will play anywhere for Sir Alex Ferguson and not give it a second though in the process, regardless of whether he likes it or not.
That sort of player is a manager’s dream because they are reliable and, when fit, always available to play any designated role in the team that the manager needs them to play.
Phil Jones is a defender and as a defender he plays two roles for the United team; as a centre back and as a right back.
He’s effective in either position but when he plays as a defender, it’s hard to judge which is his best. As a centre back he’s as effective as any other United player in terms of soaking up pressure, making tackles and taking aerial bombardments.
As a right back he’s arguably a safer option to Rafael in a defensive sense and he’s just as effective going the other way, although his delivery and touch in the final third is not as good as the Brazilian.
He also showed against Chelsea last weekend and against Everton earlier in the season, he can play a defensive midfield type of role just as effectively as he can play as an out and out defender.
His fitness allows him to play anywhere across the midfield and be able to do a man marking job on any player. He marked Marouane Fellaini out of the game in the match against Everton, just before the Real Madrid Champions League clash.
He’s also played down the right of the United midfield on a few occasions this season because of the inconsistency shown by all of the club’s current wingers and he’s done admirably in that role.
However, he is clearly not as effective in the final third of the pitch, always looking for the easy out, easy pass instead of having that ability to drive forward and split a defence open with a single ball.
That cannot be classed as a criticism because that is not his natural game. His natural instincts and qualities have always been defensively based, which is why he will always make the majority of his appearances in different roles and positions.
It’s very important for Ferguson to nail him down as a defender sooner rather than later because of the fact Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are now both into their 30s and won’t be able to play forever.
It’s difficult to say which is his best defensive position but put on the spot he can play as a centre back or right back equally as well, which mans he has two positions which give him a way into the side over the next couple of years.
Jones is the sort of player who will stay in the side once he’s given an extended run and if he continues to show the same maturity and quality in any role he’s asked to play, he will quickly become the most reliable player at the club.
What is his best position?
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