Louis van Gaal’s newly implemented 3-4-1-2 formation appears to be winning lots of admirers inside and outside of Manchester United so far this summer.
The Reds have been on a pre-season tour of the United States, where Van Gaal’s tactic has been on display and they have impressed with their attacking verve and creative moves during the friendly games they have played so far.
United have remained unbeaten during their time in America so far, beating LA Galaxy and Roma and picking up a draw against Inter Milan in their most recent fixture, which they went on to win on penalties.
It is an encouraging start to life for Van Gaal as he prepares to launch a bid to return the Red Devils back into title contention after a dismal campaign last year.
And one of the players who could be a key figure in his squad, Phil Jones, is enjoying life under the Dutchman as he learns the role of playing in a back-three.
"Everyone is trying to impress and it’s only right that we give everything we’ve got and prove to the manager that we’re worthy of starting the first game of the season,” Jones explained.
“The way this system works, if one of us goes in the other two have got to come round and cover.
“But it’s the same when you’re playing two at the back, one goes up for a header and the other comes round.
“Of course, as a defender you need a lot of communication. It’s about talking to the people around you and if we get that right we’ll be good.
“The lads have been brilliant in training. The gaffer has told us how he wants us to play and the way he wants to play this season.
“It’s a learning process but we’re all pulling in the right direction.”
The England international defender has been regarded as one of the nation’s finest prospects since breaking through at Blackburn Rovers, but his progress has rather plateaued off in recent seasons.
Jones is unquestionably a talented player, but his failure to find a permanent position in United’s team coupled with his sometimes erratic defending has hindered his reputation in recent times.
However, after the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic this summer, the 22-year-old will be required to step-up to nail down a place in Van Gaal’s starting line-up.
If he can it will be good news not only for United fans, but for England supporters too as one of their best prospects will be getting regular first-team football at an elite level.
It is easy to forget how young Jones is given his experience at the top level, but he still has time to develop and fulfill Sir Alex Ferguson’s prophesy that he could become one of the best players in United history, but he will need to make a big progression soon and this season could be imperative as to whether he is regarded as a success or a failure at Old Trafford.