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Jones: Missing Madrid Was A Lesson Learnt

Phil Jones played a blinder at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid and kept Cristiano Ronaldo relatively quiet. Having done a similar job against Gareth Bale too, United fans were looking forward to see what he could do in the return leg.

Unfortunately, Jones went flying in to a challenge against Reading in the Cup and ended up leaving the ground on crutches, ruling him out of the second leg. Jones has put this down to inexperience but is keen to learn from his mistakes.

“It was silly tackle,” he conceded. “I probably should have looked after myself a bit more. I will learn from it as an experienced head would probably not have done that. But I will learn from that. It is in me [playing with great enthusiasm]. I like making tackles. I like defending. Injuries are going to occur in football so I’ve probably just been unfortunate, especially at the start of the season. I was gutted [to miss the Madrid tie]. I tried everything to make the game. I was on the treatment table, having massages, in the pool and in the gym. But it was just too soon for me and I missed it.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Keane16 says:

    He has all the potential in the world as a centre half or a s a man to man marker but he got injured cause his feet and touch arent good enough for midfield!!!!

  2. mmmansuy united says:

    Brilliant analysis Keane. Thanks for clearing that one up!

  3. Keane16 says:

    Your welcome!!!!

  4. wayne says:

    I just love how some are already judging just what Jones limitations are considering he’s 21,fuck me it’s laughable

  5. roboo7 says:

    He got injured cause he wants the ball nothing to do with a touch being a midfielder he could of been at cb made the same challenge and get injured he was just what he could to get the ball

  6. FletchTHEMAN says:

    He’s 21! TWENTY ONE! What a beauty he is going to be if we can keep him fit.

    Name me a player at that age who hasn’t had some knocks. Fletcher maybe. But by and large they get the stretcher from time to time. But they grow into their skins more and more. The finished article might take until 25-26 give or take.

    We are lucky to have gotten Phil when we did, for the price we did as well. Fergie seems well satisfied.

    There is a nice quote from Sir Alex about what a player Jones is going to be for us. Rating him with Robbo. Some praise that!

    We have a core of lads under 23 now that is just going to get better and better. Imagine 4 years from now if we keep building on this. Could be a sight to see.

    Good on Jones. Good on all of us as well.

  7. Fibes says:

    If you actually look at the quality of his passing, his pace, his movement with the ball, you begin to see the massive potential in other areas of the pitch. He is exceptionally versatile, and I can forsee him very much settling into a Carrick/Fletcher type midfield role, or even in a more box-to-box function.

    There is no question he has the quality to become a top centre-half – certainly later on in his career when he loses that extra yard of youthful pace, that will be where he ends up. But in the meantime it makes absolute sense to play him wherever he can be most effective, be that in a more advanced midfield role running into space and breaking into the box, as a more physical option at right back, or man-to-man marking in front of the back 4.

    There is still a degree of positional naivity which creeps in, occasionally in midfield he doesn’t show for the ball when he should, or moves into the wrong areas, but that will come into play as he matures, particularly having proper football brains around the club – think Scholes, Carrick. Nicky Butt didn’t have that when he came into the first team, and Keano still had a fair bit to learn in his first couple of seasons with us, so have faith.

    We haven’t seen the best of him yet, he’s yet to have a 10-game run in the side in any given role, there is a huge amount of promise there which, further injury setbacks permitting, he will absolutely fulfil.

  8. Sparkz says:

    Fergie loves a spot of rotation, 10 game runs are pretty rare for any player in our side tbh.

  9. FletchTHEMAN says:

    A bit off topic if you all don’t mind.

    Does anyone know why we don’t have buy out clauses in professional contracts in the UK.
    Everytime we look at a foreign player it seems there is some contractual buy out clause that can be activated.

    Why doesn’t this happen in the UK.

    I guess there are pros and cons, but I just find it odd that a practice so common elsewhere (including Europe) hasn’t made it’s way to the UK.

  10. denton davey says:

    Fibes @ 12:37: “He is exceptionally versatile, and I can forsee him very much settling into a Carrick/Fletcher type midfield role, or even in a more box-to-box function.”

    Total agreement from me – although his partners will also include TheWayneBoy who is also “exceptionally versatile”. It’s all about evolution of players/squad with SAF – not a rigid template.

  11. King Eric says:

    Wayne. Spot on mate. Ten years from now we will all be talking about what a great United player he’s been. Great mentality. Born winner. Remember when we hammered Blackburn 7-1 and even when they were getting gubbed he was still barking orders. See him do it at United too. Only 21 but already dishing out bollockings.

  12. mmmansuy united says:

    Dear Lord, I hope my sarcasm rang through.

  13. King Eric says:

    I know. I don’t get this he can’t pass bullshit. He is fine in that regard. A powerhouse of a player.

  14. King Eric says:

    mmmansuy. Yes it did pal!

  15. wayne says:

    King Eric hope I’m around in 10 yrs my lifestyle not conducive to old age mate,lol
    Did I just hear on the news Maureen has quit

  16. Trydent says:

    I note with interest the bone headed twat that only had one message here last season is no longer around.The cry was “Jones out”. Why people insist on judging young players is beyond my understanding.Do we support our club or do we just want to criticize youngsters because we have nothing worth saying? To focus on the positive aspects of players only serves to encourage them.

  17. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Jones can pass but not accurately enough, not decisive in the final third. His position awareness will improve with more experience but ultimately, i see him as a centre half. He’s been put into a position in which sloppy passes will be capitalised on. We know jones’ attributes. power, dynamism, drive/determination and can go on a brilliant solo run but you need more to compete more in that position, It’s not a criticism of the lad but a reality check, enough with the patching up and sticking players out of position. simple.

  18. TheCANTONA says:

    defensive midfielder with poor passing ability is not a rare thing, its pretty common infact makelele hardly pass the ball more than 5 yards. jones could be our destroyer but only if we use 3 CM formation so 2 other players can pass the ball to our strikers or wingers while jones focus in shielding our back four.

  19. Costas says:

    Can’t say for sure whether his presence would have seen us through, but he would have been a very good option to bring on when we went down to 10 men.

  20. Dan-young says:

    I cant understand why jones’ final position is still up for debate. SAF said he will end up at centre-half, and the player himself said he prefers it there too. SAF even went as far as to say he could be our greatest ever player…WHY is there still a debate. playing him in midfield would be a complete waste of an incredible defensive talent!

  21. samuel - united WE stand says:

    TheCantona – makelele played behind a lot of creative mids, all he needed to do is focus on his primary sheilding role but at united, jones is played in a 2 man midfield in a 4231 or whatever, a role in which he has to be more than destroyer, he’s given the responsibility to distribute and link play up play and i don’t think these are his strenghts. He could yet develop into a water carrier equipped at man marking and stopping the flow of attack around the box but you still need composure and good positioning, eyes will be on his development and which position he eventually settles for but doubts can’t be cast over his versatility but a versatility that may hold him back from being a key player.

  22. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Dan young – that’s what worries me. Yes, jones versatility is fantastic and united will benefit but i feel it should be on necessary ocassions and not a regular thing as without a settled position, he’ll be shifted around to be a short term fix or a patch up for a crack in the team, he’ll be moved around to fill in for missing players when clearly, his potential can provide more.

  23. TheCANTONA says:

    that’s why i said we can get the best of jones if only with we play 3 Centre Mid formation. it’s obvious isn’t that jones’ best performances as centre mid came in everton when he had carrick and giggsy infront of him? Having a centre mid that solely to protect back 4 isn’t uncommo,. lots of continental teams done this (makelele and gattuso comes to mind), but i don’t think SAF would’ve play this tactic as we know that he expect his players to do multiple jobs on the pitch. (see strikers playing as false midfeld, wingers as wing defenders), etc…

  24. TheCANTONA says:

    it’s very interesting that we have 3 very good young centre back in evans, smalling, and jones (let’s not forget michael keane too). Who do u think from these 3 who could be our first duo CB option for years to come?

  25. Dan-young says:

    Samuel – .. I think its a case of giving him minutes and a bit of experience in different positions, and its just a case of waiting until ferdinand retires. At this moment in time theres not much opportunity for changes at the back, however in 1,2 maybe 3 years time there will be. jones will be a regular united centre back by the time its his 23rd birthday, and captain before his 25th.

    as for the bale debate on a previous article, I believe selling rooney for £20 million and buying bale for£45/50 million is a step backwards. however putting the number 8 on rooneys back and lining him up with carrick in midfield, with a 3 of bale,kagz,rodriguez(zaha) behind RVP up top is a MAJOR step forward

  26. Denton Davey says:

    Dan-young @ 15:19: “WHY is there still a debate. playing him in midfield would be a complete waste of an incredible defensive talent!”

    Because UTD’s midfield options for partnering MC16 need upgrading – ask yourself this: why do most “experts” say that matches are won (or lost) in midfield ?

    Why did UTD get embarrassed by Barcelona in two CL finals ? In Rome in 2009, DarrenFletcherinho was suspended. Owen Hargreaves was injured. Anderson AND MC16 were injured during the match (both missed international games afterwards). At Wembley in 2011, Giggs and Park were playing with MC16 against Xavi-esta/Biscuits at the peak of their powers. To win that kind of contest, there is a need for a very substantial up-grading of the midfield – YoungTom just isn’t good enough at the very highest level. He’s a neat, tidy player but not powerful enough.

    Look at Bayern, Schweini and Javi Martinez; Dortmund – Gundogan and Bender; Madrid has Alonso and Khedira. These are strong, powerful, dynamic and skilled combinations.

    MC16 isn’t the strongest player but he is very skilled at shielding the defence, sweeping up. He needs better, stronger, faster partners – preferably in some sort of 4-3-3 which makes sense of having BOTH MrJones and TheWayneBoy on the pitch with him.

  27. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Interesting views about Jones final position. My guess is that Jones will ultimately be used as a DMF and on those occasions were the opposition allows AND we don’t have a fit CB, he will get used as a stop gap CB instead of Carrick. He is a natural at CB, I’ll give you that. And there is absolutely no reason to doubt his abilities at CB. BUT he will be the shortest CB since maybe Steve Bruce and Fergie is clearly moving away from that as a first choice CB.

    Fergie has just tended to load up the CB position with lads that are a minimum of 1.89m (6’2″), Carrick, Rio, Vidic, Smalling, Evans, Pique are all 1.89m+. Jones is 1.80m (5’11″) to 1.82 depending on the site you read. When Stoke show up, I think 2/3 of their team will be as tall as our CBs. Jones might be OK in Europe, but I feel he isn’t, ever, going to be our first choice CB for the EPL.

    Feel free to disagree. But I think the fact that Jones is being put up the park speaks precisely to our intentions for him. Well that and a bit of hGH on the side.

    Feel free to disagree. So far, I have evidence on my side.

  28. Dan-young says:

    your going on your opinion, im going on actual quotes from the player himself and the manager that picks the team.

    SAF knows how he sets up his teams. in my opinion it seems that the midfield is a base for the attack, aswell as breaking up play. considering the amount of games we won this season they are doing a fantastic job. aswell as the stats where carrick and cleverly are in the top 10 passers in the entire league. jones is a defender, not a midfielder… as the best ‘expert’ of all, the manager.

    also saying cleverly isn’t good enough is a joke right? .. your not one of those morons that said scholes and carrick aren’t good enough are you, surely your not going to make he same mistake for a 3rd time?

  29. Dan-young says:

    im gunna go ahead and agree with these guys…

    …Both of the most important people to decide where he plays state that his best position is centre back. hes only in midfield and right back now because its better then him watching Ferdinand/vidic/evans from the sidelines.

  30. wayne says:

    I’ve never read a quote from Sir Alex saying Jones will definitely end up at CH,always talks about Jones talent and versatility

  31. murt73 says:

    Wayne I just can’t resist telling ya that you were doing exactly the same with De Gea back at the beginning of the season, nearly jumping down me throat one round and you going on as far as I recall about his serious flaws and Limitations and the poor lad much the same age with far more responsibility!!!

  32. wayne says:

    WTF are you rambling are you rambling about murt what has DDG got to do with me rating Jones?.I also suggest going back and reading what I said about DDG.I just love how so many people don’t read comments properly then just make shit up

  33. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Fabio cannavarro is just about the same height as jones and ended up being the best defender at the very highest level. Height has no bearing on anything, carrick gets moved to centre back and i guess evidence also defines him as a centre back. Time will tell where jones ends up, my issue is that the cons outweigh the pros of a versatile footballer.

  34. FletchTHEMAN says:

    I love this footy manager crap. No comprehension of differences in leagues and truly no clue of what your taking about related to what United have done, and other top 5 sides in the EPL have done for the last 5 years.

    Name one CH at United in the last 12 years under 1.88m?
    ….. in the england top 5 ?
    ……then try to find one in the top 10 of the EPL.

    It’s a different game here than in spain and italy. CL is yet another thing still, as are all knock out competitions where diving wins more points than actually playing football.

    As Arsenal have found out to their peril, when you have 3 CHs injured and you go to Stoke or Everton or Sunderland in January. YOU DROP POINTS off of headers in the box.

    United have a bit of a problem for hight in the back 4, with Evra and Rafael about 1.75. We really do need height in at CH. This was very effectively highlighted by Real Madrid in the CL who worked very hard to isolate Rafael with Ronaldo, and did it repeatedly.

    Wait until Phil Jones is one on one with Kenwayn Jones and you’ll come to realize, EXACTLY what Sir Alex realizes. It’s a match up that will eventually pay off for the other team.

    Make no mistake, You really need to think about the entire team, the match ups on corners and set pieces to get where I am coming from. Footy manager? It won’t help you here.

  35. FletchTHEMAN says:

    King Eric. I remember that game v Blackburn. Phil Jones made an impression that day. I don’t know if that was the day that Sir Alex started tracking him, but it sure caused me to take note.

    Lad must have been 18!

  36. In David We Trust says:

    Denten Davey – I find it so frustrating we have not strengthened the CM for 6 years. We have such weak options to partner carrick, not only in the central area, we are still short of quality out on the wide positions, relieved we have signed one. But I still do not understand why we are linked with a LB and a striker, when the sensible thing is signing 2 quality midfielders, one in CM and one out wide, that alone would see us in a far better position to take on the best of europe and see us succesfully retain the PL again

  37. FletchTHEMAN says:

    In david we trust. To be fair. Think we are linked with several CMs. 2 of which have been confirmed but the deal wasn’t sealed (Wee Wes and Lucas). We also have lost 3 MFs in that period through injury, sickness or greed (Hargreaves, Fletcher, Pogba). Also, Obi Mikel if you want to be complete. Give the club a bit of credit, we probably don’t know about a couple others that were of interest. There is alot of competition, and in the end, some would rather take their families to London, Paris, or Munich instead of the cold north west. A lot of variables have to fall in place.

    This summer we have been linked with several that could do nicely if it is true.

    We are all frustrated, but I don’t think it is for want of trying by the club.

  38. Dev says:

    I just hope that he won’t end up like John O’Shea. Or Wayne Rooney. Their talent and versatility did them no real favours.

  39. denton davey says:

    Dev @ 23:54: “I just hope that he won’t end up like John O’Shea. Or Wayne Rooney.”

    Yeah, right. Those guys won nothing. It’s a team game. BOTH O’Shea and Rooney have won plenty of medals as part of a winning team.


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