Manchester United's Phil Jones is the Premier League's top man in key defensive area

Manchester United's Phil Jones leads the Premier League rankings in one key defensive indicator.

Signed for £16.5 million as a 19-year-old from Blackburn, before being tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson as having the potential to become one of Manchester United's greatest ever players, its fair to say Phil Jones is still yet to meet the huge expectations that surrounded his 2011 arrival at the club. 

The England international has experienced an injury-ridden career at Old Trafford thus far. Nonetheless, having recovered from his 19th United lay-off earlier this season, he has emerged as a major contributor to the Red Devils impressive recent form. Louis van Gaal's side boast the third best defensive record in the English top flight, while they also sit third in the overall division standings. 

Impressively, the Manchester United centre-back has made an interception more often - every 22.5 minutes - than any other player with 10 or more Premier League appearances this season. This sees him rank above the likes of Arsenal first-choice defender Laurent Koscielny and Crystal Palace midfield enforcer Mile Jedinak. 

  PositionTeamAppearancesInterception MINS
Phil Jones DF Man Utd 12 22.48
Laurent Koscielny DF Arsenal 13 23.53
Mile Jedinak MF C. Palace 18 23.78
Armand Traore DF QPR 13 24.33
Federico Fernández DF Swansea 14 25.85

He is often accused of lacking the positional sense to excel as an elite central defender, but this statistic suggests otherwise. Interceptions are a key factor when it comes to breaking down opposition attacks, and therefore they act as an important indicator for judging a player's defensive intelligence. 

Phil Jones is by no means one of the most accomplished centre-backs in the English top flight, but at 22 years of age he still has a long way to go in terms of his development. Under new management this season, we have witnessed glimpses of the Englishman's class, it's now just a case of showcasing his ability on a far more regular basis. 

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