‘He’s had a raw deal’ – Phil Jones backed to turn it around under new Man Utd boss Ten Hag despite sitting out tour


PHIL JONES is being backed to finally have the last laugh on the sneer-leaders who mocked him for years.

No player has been savaged as much as the Manchester United centre-back, who has spent huge chunks of his Old Trafford career battling injuries.

David Dunn has backed Phil Jones to reverse his fortunes at Old Trafford


David Dunn has backed Phil Jones to reverse his fortunes at Old TraffordCredit: PA

The 30-year-old is doing so again now, sitting out the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia to make sure he is fit for next month’s big kick-off.

Jones has refused to throw in the towel and knocked back loan moves in his determination to prove he can still become a United regular.

And with Erik ten Hag’s arrival meaning a level playing field for everyone, at last there is a shaft of light for a man Sir Alex Ferguson once said could be United’s finest-ever player.

Following a season that saw Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof struggle for form and Eric Bailly and Raphael Varane battle injuries, a first-team door which seemed slammed shut may still be ajar.

David Dunn was the main man at Blackburn in two glorious spells at Ewood Park, as his fellow home-grown star was coming through the ranks.

And the former midfielder has no doubts his old team-mate has the character and class to show he is worthy of a key role in Ten Hag’s Old Trafford revolution.

Dunn insisted: “Jonesy was always a special player — he could cover ground quickly, he was athletic, very determined and so resilient, which he’s had to be.

“He was so tough, as well. And I don’t just mean physically but mentally, which has always been the way at Blackburn. So I know Jonesy will have no problem bouncing back.


“I think he’s had a raw deal but he’s so versatile.

“He can play right-back, centre-back, central midfield, all over the pitch.

“I see it as a gift but it has probably had a detrimental effect on him at times.

“I know he’s had injuries but for all the problems he is still only 30 and don’t forget, that means he hasn’t got the miles on his legs.”

In March 2010, Dunn was running the Rovers midfield when then boss Sam Allardyce decided it was time to unleash the kid everyone at the club had raved about for years.

So when Chelsea, who went on to win the Double that season, visited Ewood Park, an 18-year-old Jones was at the heart of the defence for his Prem debut.

Dunn, 42, remembers the game well.

But not so much for the fact Rovers held the eventual champions to a 1-1 draw but for one early double challenge that made Jones an instant hero.

Dunn, now first-team coach at Port Vale, said: “Didier Drogba was at his peak and Jonesy went right through him in a 50-50 and won the ball.

“Then he leapt straight up and went through John Terry in the middle of the pitch and won that one too.

“Everyone was like ‘Wow’ and it made him a legend with the fans pretty much from the off. 

“While there are times when some players maybe won’t go out and give their all, that’s never the case with him.

“That’s why he has picked up injuries but I see that attitude as a positive and, as a coach, I’d want it in my dressing room. I’m sure Ten Hag will think the same.”


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