For the first time since February of the 2019/20 season, Phil Jones’s name appears on the United team sheet. Jones missed out on the entirety of the previous campaign due to what we presume to be injuries and poor form. Honestly, the information around Jones is mainly smoke and mirrors. According to multiple sources, Jones remained out of the squad due to a “knee injury” but did not reveal the specifics of the problem. Recently, Jones reported to the Sunday Times that his right meniscus has been an issue for multiple years and playing through pain. The official injury has been ongoing since 2012, but in 2020 Jones underwent a mendacious surgery and microfractures to try and fully sort his long-term health.
However, it seems that Jones’s greatest issue has been on the mental side. Similar problems have been made public in recent memory with other United players, mainly Jesse Lingard and David De Gea. The England international, Lingard, dealt with abuse online after his form dipped and took to visualization therapy in order to revitalize his career on loan at West Ham. De Gea announced that he almost quit football altogether over the summer after the Europa League final lost, but now looks as fine as ever after making a game-winning penalty save against West Ham. Surely Phil Jones will be looking to restart his own career after his low points in a similar fashion.
Reflecting on Phil Jones
Phil Jones signed for United in the summer of 2011. Sir Alex hailed him as a great signing and sought to get him onto the pitch as soon as possible. In his first season for United, Jones featured in 29 matches, a figure that he still has not hit again since. The injury drama began in his second season with his right meniscus and proved to be a long-term injury. However, Jones played through the pain for multiple seasons and played in an average of nearly 20 Premier League matches per season for United from 2012-2019. In that time, Jones also participated in 2 World Cups and a European Championship with England.
Overall, Phil’s time with United cannot be called a failure. Injury-riddled and crestfallen recently, sure, but not a failure. The lad has played for United for over a decade and made over 200 appearances in all competitions. While he never made it to the pinnacle his hype predicted, Jones made a decent career for himself. Rightfully, he won’t go down as a club legend, but Jones had an impact on the squads he was a part of. Ole wants to keep him around as he still represents a long-term United player.
The rationale behind wanting Jones to just move on makes sense. However, amongst the memes and jokes around him, Phil has continued to manage to be a fairly successful professional footballer.
Jones plays for United, so just support him.
Manchester United players receive more abuse than anyone else (or at least it’s close.) Part of playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs is the attention that comes with it. The treatment of Jones could be the worst that a player has received in the modern era. Partly because his downfall was so rapid, but also that social media boomed just as he lost his footing in the game.
The debate on Jones’s future focuses on why he doesn’t go elsewhere and find some form and regular football. It’s not an awful idea for Phil to just accept his losses and move on, but it doesn’t appear like that will happen in the near future. Jones is contracted with United until 2023 and it looks like he wants to play it out. Even if he never reaches his potential, just support him. After all, we all love United and Phil remains a United player that lost his way.
GGMU, written by CJ Szaz.