Sam Allardyce’s lavish praise of Phil Jones back in 2011, shows why it is hardly a surprise that the defender is on Everton’s wishlist.
And Allardyce’s past comments about Jones, show just how highly he rates the centre-back.
The Everton boss worked with Jones at Blackburn Rovers, and suggested that the centre-back could go on to become England’s captain.
He said to the Telegraph, seven years ago: “He is already growing into what I consider to be a leader. When he gets more experience he will be able to control his team-mates and eventually he will wear the armband for England. It’s a lot to ask of such a young man but he has the all-round outstanding ability to be a very top player.
“The biggest asset that Phil has is his mental strength. Football is played at the highest level because of what is between the ears more than the motor skills. What he is doing at the moment is way beyond his years and he has the ability to accept the responsibility of the position and carry out the need for the team in whatever position the manager asks him to play in.”
Jones never has gone on to captain England, but he has had a stellar career.
The 26-year-old has been at United since 2011, and has made 188 appearances for the Red Devils.
Jones also boasts 24 caps for England, and looks almost certain to be taken to the World Cup in the summer.
If Jones was to move to Everton he would considerably strengthen their defensive options, which are currently weak.
Everton’s backline has been porous this term, with many of their centre-backs failing to impress.