Thursday, February 2, 2023

Manchester United Defender Faces An Uncertain Time – Here’s What He Should Do

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

Jose Mourinho made a dream start to his Premier League campaign at Old Trafford picking up 6 points from his first two games as he tries to lift Manchester United back to its previous best. He has made a number of additions to the squad in the offseason and has made the United squad one of the strongest in Europe. He will now hope to get rid of players who do not have a place in the squad next season before the end of the transfer window.

One such player who is unsettled at the club at the moment is England international Phil Jones. The 24-year old was out of action at the start of the season due to injury and was linked with a move away from the club as a part of Mourinho’s exodus at the Old Trafford. However, recent reports have suggested that he will stay at Old Trafford amid interests from Premier League clubs including Stoke City and Arsenal.

It will be interesting to see how Jose Mourinho uses the likes of Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind. The manager does not have a lot of backup for his defence and is reportedly looking to close a deal for Southampton’s Jose Fonte before the deadline day pushing Jones further down the pecking order. Though United will entertain European football this season, they will have five senior centre-backs fighting for two places leaving at least one of them unhappy and it looks more and more likely that Phil Jones is the player who might feel the wrath.

Mourinho is not known for chopping and changing his squads regularly as he likes a settled lineup that allows him to work on a single strategy to get the better of their opponents. He believes in giving players chances in their positions till they can prove themselves but it will be hard for him to rotate between five centre backs in four tournaments. The domestic cups in the country are the best option for Phil Jones next season if he stays at Old Trafford and it is hard to see the 24-year old happy with such a position in the squad.

At his age, Jones will need all the football he can get under his belt to improve on his attributes and become a better player. Though playing at United has its own advantages, lack of game time is certainly something the defender will have to assess before deciding to stay the club for the entire season. He may be used as a cover for injuries but with his potential and experience, Jones will not be able to sit a whole season on the bench waiting for a mishap to happen. Thus a loan move away from the club will be a perfect one for the 24-year old.

He will get regular game time away from Old Trafford and he can return a far better player just a season later and can then fight a good case for his inclusion in the first team. At the moment, with the lack of a proper preseason, Jones is not the ideal option for Manchester United and a loan move away from the club will be fruitful for all parties involved. Do you think Jones should stay at Old Trafford this season?

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