Thoughts: TopKorner – Phil Jones

With two points off the top going into Christmas, the Red Devils have just lost one game in the entire league season.

After being knocked out of the Carling Cup and the Champions League, Sir Alex Ferguson’s determination to retain the Premiership crown has been undermined by the ever growing injury list consisting of Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher, Fabio da Silva, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand. The emphatic 5-0 drubbing of Fulham at Craven Cottage in midweek was overshadowed by injuries to Phil Jones and Ashley Young. It has been confirmed that Young is out for a few weeks.

It was initially feared that Jones might have fractured his cheekbone after being caught in the face by the trailing arm of Clint Dempsey in an aerial tussle. That would have ruled him out of the busy festive schedule and thus stretching an already thin United squad, but X-rays have subsequently revealed that there was no major damage done, much to the relief of Ferguson and the United fans.

With the preferred partnership of Vidic and Ferdinand unavailable for the near future, Jones has risen up to the responsibility and has marshalled the Manchester United back-line. He has featured in all but one of United’s matches in the Premier League. A depiction of his importance can be seen by the fact that he has played a vital role in eight out of the nine clean sheets kept by the Red Devils this season.

Jones has recently grown in stature, even touted by some to be the future captain ofEngland. His poise and composure when on the ball, and his ability to read the game has set him apart. The sheer versatility of Jones to seamlessly fit in anywhere in the back four or compliment Michael Carrick in midfield has been a major plus to this depleted United squad. His flexibility to play at any position is an important trait and has softened the departure of John O’Shea .With his lung bursting box-to-box runs, Jones has managed to chip in with a couple of goals, one on the forgetful night against Basel and the other, a winner against Aston Villa.

Considered by United fans to be the signing of the season, Jones at just nineteen years of age is blessed with the talent and the right platform to nurture his skills. Jones is off to the perfect start, his confidence with the ball, allied with a steely determination to throw his body on the line has earned him Ferguson’s trust and has firmly established himself as an integral member of the United squad.

Jones has to sustain his impressive start and has a big role to play if United are to retain their Premier League crown. He could be a vital cog in Fabio Capello’s Euro plans next summer, as the England coach has already started comparing him to the Italian legend Franco Baresi. The Phil Jones story probably has just begun.

 

(The original version is available on the site http://www.topkorner.com/editorials.aspx?ID=39)

 

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