There are plenty of reasons as to why Phil Jones could have a similar career to Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at Manchester United.
Phil Jones is the model professional footballer and a good example of a young man, who could well stay at his current club for effectively his entire career, which will put him alongside the likes of other United legends of the recent past.
Jones is one of the best examples at the moment of how a young player should conduct himself at a top Premier League club and it’s no fluke that he’s playing alongside two of the longest serving players at a single club in the English game.
Jones could easily have similar longevity to Giggs and Scholes at United because he keeps himself very fit, which should allow him to play all the way through his 20s and well into his 30s.
That naturally gives him a lot of time to rack up the appearances, although he’ll probably struggle to get anywhere near Giggs’ 1000 plus and counting appearances for United.
The other thing he’s got going in his favour is the fact he’s a utility man and can play in different positions, which gives him various ways into the team as various players pick up injuries or get suspended.
It also means Sir Alex Ferguson can use him in different roles e.g. as a right back, as a centre back or as a defensive midfield player, which means he’s not always only going to be selected because someone else is injured.
He’s also got the complete respect of the manager, which is important because you’re going to struggle to get games for United if you don’t have Fergie on your side.
Ferguson recently described Jones as a beast and an animal for football, showing a hunger and desire for the game, which he hasn’t seen for a very long time from a United player.
That hints at his natural qualities such as work rate, discipline, enthusiasm and all of the things which generally make a player popular with the fans. If he can back all of that up with solid performances then he’ll quickly become more of a crowd favourite, than he already is.
Jones also has a very good understanding of football, which allows him to read games very well and adapt to various situations.
That ability is something which gives him an edge over other players at United because it means he can compensate in different situations tactically, giving himself more time and space and playing a pass before a run has even been made.
The biggest factor in whether he can push on and become a United legend will happen when Ferguson retires because whoever replaces him, may not see Jones in the same light that the current boss does.
However, that, and the fact he may ask for a move away from United in the future, are the only two things which will probably stop him from having a statue outside the ground somewhere in 25 years time.
United fans, what do you make of Jones? Is he more than just a versatile player?
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