Phil Jones fit and firing again and ready to deliver for Manchester United and England

After at last winning first his battle with his own fitness and then a place in Jose Mourinho’s first team Jones is back enjoying his football again

Ben Burrows
Sunday 19 March 2017 12:01
Comments
Phil Jones has finally got back to full fitness and United and England are set to benefit
Phil Jones has finally got back to full fitness and United and England are set to benefit

There was a time when Phil Jones must’ve felt like the luckiest guy in the world.

Back in the summer of 2011, when Sir Alex Ferguson paid an initial £17million to sign him from Blackburn, the stage looked set for England’s next, great central defender to blossom at the country’s biggest club.

From relegation-threatened Rovers to the reigning Premier League champions in the blink of an eye the world appeared to be at the then 19-year-old’s feet.

Fast forward half a decade and Jones is now one of this next Manchester United generation’s most experienced figures.

With the likes of Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw around him all still finding their way, Jones has emerged as the wise old head in an otherwise baby-faced back four. But it has, of course, not always been such a smooth road.

To describe Jones’ United career as stop-start doesn’t quite do it justice. A near-endless string of niggles and knocks have kept the 25-year-old firmly on the outside looking in over the last few years.

Seemingly always one kick away from yet another lengthy lay off no manager, either with club or country, has been able to trust Jones with leading his last line of defence.

But after at last winning first his battle with his own fitness and then a place in Jose Mourinho’s first team Jones is back enjoying his football again this season.

“I feel good,” he says ahead of Sunday’s trip to Middlesbrough. “I had a great run of games, then I had a little problem with my foot which knocked me out for a few weeks but I feel great now.

“I’m just looking forward to the next game and whoever the manager does pick to play, I’m sure they’ll do a good job.”

So is he through the worst of his injury woe?

“Hopefully if I do pick up an injury or a little niggle it’s one or two weeks it’s not a big one which is the main thing,” he says.

Jones’ fitness and subsequent form saw him earn a long-awaited call from Gareth Southgate this week and he will join his England teammates for the clashes with Lithuania and Germany over the next fortnight.

“Yes it’s nice,” he says. “I always said that if I was playing games for Manchester United consistently and playing well I’d have a chance of getting back in.

“I’m delighted. I love playing for England, I know everyone says it but it is a huge honour to put that shirt on, and to be selected and I’m looking forward to meeting up.”

Luck appears to be back on his side. And that can only be a good thing for Manchester United and England.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in