ten Hag previews Man Utd's FA Cup tie against Reading
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On Friday night, Phil Jones’ name trended on Twitter. Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has confirmed the England international remains injured but, having cost an overall package of £58million during his near 13 years at the club, supporters’ patience is running thin. Yet the defender’s past comments show he deserves more sympathy than he actually gets.
Jones joined United from Blackburn Rovers back in the summer transfer window of 2011.
And he quickly established himself as a key player under Sir Alex Ferguson, helping the Scot bow out with the Premier League title two years later.
In the years since, however, Jones’ stock has fallen drastically.
The England international has now outlasted the likes of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – as well as interim bosses such as Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick.
On Friday, Jones’ name trended on Twitter after Ten Hag confirmed the 30-year-old was still injured.
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“No, it’s not been taken until now,” he said when quizzed on Jones’ contract situation, with his year having mere months left to run.
“The decision about that is for the summer, but for the whole season he’s injured.
“I can’t say (if Jones will play again this season). What I can say is that he’s not available for training since the first day of training this season so I think there’s not an opportunity for you to recover quickly and be available quickly.”
Jones has been criticised, with many believing the United star is milking the club.
But comments made by the centre-back in 2021 suggest he deserves more sympathy, with the defender admitting he’s been to ‘hell and back’.
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Jones also revealed he’d contemplated retirement, only for ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ to spark a re-think.
“I’ve been through hell and back over the last couple of years,” he told United’s website.
“I struggled with my knee a little bit and (there) came a point after lockdown where I thought enough was enough.
“I kept myself in great shape over lockdown and came back. But I remember just training out here [at Carrington] and going into the doc and saying ‘enough’s enough’.
“Unfortunately, there was going to be time off the pitch, which I knew was going to be difficult for me, but it was something that I had to do.
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“Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’ve been back training, played a few behind-closed-doors games and I’m feeling really good at the minute.”
And he added: “I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that’s the lowest I probably ever felt in my life.
“You try and get a balance between football and family life but it was so difficult going home and trying to look after the kids.
“You’re there, but you’re not there, you’re not present. It’s nice to get that balance back.”
Jones did make a couple of appearances for United under Rangnick last term.
His last game was the crushing 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
And Rangnick was criticised for playing Jones after the contest, with talkSPORT pundit Jamie O’Hara saying the stalwart had been ‘thrown under the bus’.
“Phil Jones must be thinking cheers gaffa absolutely throw me under the bus,” said O’Hara on Twitter.
“Thanks for your help and then drag me at half time, shambles of a manager.”
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