Phil Jones recently said that he sees himself as a centre-back, and considering his performance in Manchester United's 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, it is clear to see why.
The 22-year-old put in an impressive shift at the back for David Moyes' side, getting in on the goal-scoring action as well, his 34th-minute header setting United on their way to a much-needed victory.
As you can see from the Opta stats below, Jones' defensive contribution was considerable, as he won six duels and 2 aerial duels, while making eight effective clearances and five such clearances with his head.
|Player||Goals||Duel Won||Aerial Won||Interception Won||Effective Clearance||Effective Head Clearance|
With Nemanja Vidic leaving Old Trafford at the end of the current campaign, much has been made about who could replace him. And while it is perhaps a tad premature to say Jones is ready to step in and perform at the level of the Serbian rock on a consistent basis, he certainly has the talent and the focus to warrant that chance. Jones has, after all, been playing top level football since he was a teenager.
Jones also had a 77% pass-completion rate against the Baggies, and alongside Chris Smalling he formed what proved to be an impenetrable defensive wall.
After the game, we took to Twitter to see what United fans made of Jones' performance, and the praise was considerable.
You can read a selection of what we found below:
And also nice to see a great defensive performance with Phil Jones very impressive— Daniel McGivney10 (@DanielMcGivney) March 8, 2014
I am proud of Phil Jones! His presence in the team changes the defensive performance.— Alejandró (@theguylex) March 8, 2014
So much love for Phil Jones, fighter— Matt Smith (@MattySmith600) March 8, 2014
Defensive duo of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones is the future of Manchester United.— Young Washington. (@ThatKid_Kevin15) March 8, 2014
I tell you what, phil jones and chris smalling have both really impressed me! Im not a fan of theirs but ones for next year? Maybe?— insert+name+here (@ReeceLimbert25) March 8, 2014
Phil Jones MOTM by a country mile. Outstanding performance from the lad.— Dassler (@74Dassler) March 8, 2014
image: © nasmac