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Phil Jones: From Potential to Punchline

If you are a regular viewer of England soccer, then you would be aware of a Manchester United defender by the name of Philip Anthony Jones. In his younger days, he was seen as the“greatest ever” in waiting but is now a player people who enjoy ridiculing. In order to understand how he got to this point, one must look to when he first entered the scene. From 2002-2009, Jones would play for the Blackburn Rovers youth team, and then he played at senior level from 2009-2011. During this time, he showed lots of promise on the field with his committed and assured performance at center-back, an example of this being his crucial blocks and interceptions during a draw with Chelsea.

Phil Jones in a blue and white jersey
Phil Jones in the Blackburn Rovers

It was because of this that he garnered interest from many top English clubs. At the end of the 2010-11 season, he ended up signing with Manchester United. He had a strong start at the club, and in 2013, he looked to be one of the club’s greatest players with his impeccable defense and flexibility on the field. However, things started to look grim for Jones as he tended to be a victim of his own versatility, meaning he could not get used to different positions that former coach Alex Ferguson would put him in. He essentially had to wait on Ferdinand, Vidic, and Jonny Evans for a chance at center-back.

Another issue was his reckless playing style which lead to a long string of luckless injuries that hindered his progress as a player. When Jose Mourinho was the manager, he did not have a lot of faith in Jones. Because of this, Jones was often kept from playing. However, Mourinho’s worries were confirmed in 2018 in a game against Valencia, where Jones had one of his worst performances to date. He recklessly catapulted himself into challenges when he could just stand up, and he clumsily found himself on his back-side, taking ages to get up. What made this even worse was when he scored an own goal, solidifying his terrible performance that day.

Also, during his career, people began noticing comical faces Jones made during challenges which inspired the internet to jeer at him. This only added to his newly-created image as a “parody” of a player. Currently, he is out of play due to an injury and has had surgery, and so the question remains: Will Phil Jones ever be as good as he used to be? While it is unlikely, he has a strong passion for soccer and is constantly trying to get better. He had a fantastic start, but it was injuries and inconsistency that has caused him to fall from grace. He could fully regain fitness and become very useful to the club, but his future still remains unknown.

A collage of Phil Jones portraits
The Many Faces of Phil Jones