Phil Jones insists he is 'happy' at Manchester United despite utility role

The 21-year-old wants to be a centre-back

Phil Jones is happy to be Manchester United manager David Moyes' flexible friend - but he knows the time will come when he needs to specialise.

Long touted as a high-class central defender, at times Jones has been doing anything but occupying his favourite position.

None of his seven England caps have come in that preferred role, and Sir Alex Ferguson liked to use the former Blackburn man as a defensive screen in front of his back four.

Privately, Moyes has voiced his belief Jones will eventually slot into central defence and that was where the 21-year-old figured in yesterday's 3-2 defeat to Yokohama F Marinos.

Yet Jones knows he could be moved about again once the important games start next month.

"I have said from day one I see myself as a centre-back," he said. "But if I am asked to play in midfield or at right-back I am happy to do so. As long as I am in the team, it doesn't matter whether I am in goal.

"Of course, towards the middle and end of my career I will want to start cementing a place in a certain position but at the moment I am happy."

That Jones is staying fit is a welcome relief in what has turned into a difficult first pre-season for Moyes.

Whether it be difficulties in bringing in new players, the Wayne Rooney situation or a worrying groin injury collected by Robin van Persie during the first half of last night's game, problems are piling up for Moyes.

On the transfers front, a move for Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas has stalled, Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini remain at Everton, Yohan Cabaye at Newcastle, and a seismic shift in the present situation would be required to secure the services of Gareth Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Yet, inside the changing room, all is going well.

Insiders have confirmed Moyes' training regime has been impressive and while Jones could hardly be expected to say anything else under the circumstances, he reports a keen desire to succeed for the new boss.

"I am more than happy the new manager has come in," he said.

"He is a great manager. We all know what he has done that at Everton. I am sure he will do well for Manchester United as well.

"The training has been as sharp as nails. There is that willingness to impress.

"That is the case with all the players, not just myself. Every training session has been very competitive."

Moyes has reiterated that Wayne Rooney is not for sale, and said the striker is on track to make his comeback in Sweden next month.

United have already turned down one bid from Chelsea for Rooney, although it is expected Jose Mourinho will be back with another long before the transfer window closes.

Rooney did not do much to dampen down speculation over his future by heading to the south east for a round of golf at a course close to the Chelsea training ground at the weekend.

United's expectation remains that Rooney, having had treatment for a hamstring injury, will be in Stockholm for the friendly against AIK Solna on August 6.

"We have said and the club have said he is not for sale," said Moyes. "That has not changed.

"I do expect Wayne to be in Stockholm. As far as I know he is coming on. 'He has started light jogging and the feedback from the physios is that he is progressing."

PA

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all