Should Phil Jones get a chance at centre back for England?

Manchester United defender Phil Jones could feature in England’s next two friendly matches against Chile and Germany.

German fans couldn’t help but have noticed how effectively Jones played against Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil last weekend and England boss Roy Hodgson may be debating over how to get Jones into his side for England’s next two games.

What was striking about the way Jones played against Arsenal was his versatility and how comfortable he looked playing in two different defensive roles for United.

England have a very successful centre back pairing at the moment of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka, which saw England through their final two difficult World Cup qualifying matches against Ukraine and Poland.

On the one hand it seems pointless to break that pairing up when they have done well together, but on the other hand, friendly matches are one of the only chances international bosses get to test out players in different positions.

There has been great debate over which role is best for Jones at Manchester United because he’s played well as a right-back, a centre back and as a holding midfield player.

Many commonly agree that centre back is his best position and as England have cover in those other roles, it would be amazing to see him in any other position should he feature against Chile or Germany.

Jones has may attributes which make him ideal to play as a central defender, which should ensure that he performs if Hodgson wants to start him this Friday or next Tuesday.

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He’s a very strong player which is important for any central defender going up against talented forwards, who will back in and look to bully a defence to create more space for other players.

He’s quick which is important because England sometimes like to play a high line and he reads the game well, which gives him an ability to play in those different positions but cover for his teammates when they find themselves out of position all over the pitch.

The problem for Hodgson is that he’s going to want consistency in the limited matches England have building up to the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

However, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic unlikely to play all season long in the middle of Manchester United’s defence, David Moyes is likely to give Jones further chances to impress the way he did against Arsenal.

It all adds to pressure on Hodgson but considering how well he did against Ozil last weekend and also in terms of keeping Olivier Giroud quiet, it may not be a bad idea to stick him in Ozil’s face all over again next week.

image: © nasmac

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