Phil Jones surprised by prominent role for Manchester United this season
Wednesday 09 May 2012
Phil Jones has been surprised at the number of appearances he has made for Manchester United in his first season at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson splashed out £18million to sign Jones from Blackburn last summer.
As a raw teenager, it was envisaged United would ease the Chorley-born player in gradually.
However, partly through the energy of his early performances, partly through his ability to operate in a variety of positions and with Nemanja Vidic's season ending early due to a knee injury, Jones has been thrown in at the deep end.
Sunday's win over Swansea represented his 40th appearance of the campaign in all competitions, a figure Jones finds it difficult to believe he has reached.
"It has gone really well," he said.
"If anyone had told me at the start of the season I would have made 40 appearances for Manchester United I would have snapped their hands off. It is incredible.
"I didn't expect it this season but it all started off really well.
"Perhaps I picked up a few injuries at the wrong time because at the back end of the season I couldn't really get my match fitness back.
"But now I feel good, fit and fresh and hopefully I can finish the season strongly."
Barring an unexpected turn of events in Manchester City's match against QPR next Sunday, Jones will end the campaign with a Barclays Premier League runners-up medal
Yet few who have watched Jones closely this term, particularly in the middle portion of the season when he was earning comparisons with legendary United star Duncan Edwards, doubt he is destined for the very top of the game.
Sam Allardyce knew it when he handed Jones his Blackburn debut two years ago, and asked him to mark Didier Drogba.
That he managed it was an indicator of the 20-year-old's laidback attitude, which ensured he was not overawed for long when he first wandered into United's dressing room.
"There is definitely a bit of personal intimidation," he said.
"You always raise the question to yourself. Am I good enough to be here?
"The manager has shown that faith in me. Hopefully I have repaid it.
"I found it relatively easy to adjust though, because at Blackburn I always saw myself as a player who likes to get the ball down, which is what United love to do."
Prior to Fabio Capello's surprise resignation in February it seemed Jones was a certainty to feature in England's Euro 2012 squad.
Now, with Roy Hodgson in charge and Jones' form taking a dip, it is not quite so certain.
However, the certain consolation prize would be an Olympics berth, so the youngster knows, one way or another, he is in for a busy summer.
"There are two massive competitions coming up at the end of the season," he said.
"Hopefully I can be part of one of them."
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Man cycles down water slide in incredible stunt video
Napoli 2 Arsenal 0 match report: Nightmare in Naples leaves Arsenal to battle giants
Transfer news: Wayne Rooney sparks Manchester United exit rumours after rejecting new contract talks - reports
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories