He has been meme fodder for millions of football fans around, but on Monday Phil Jones wasn’t laughing as he put on a solid display for Manchester United despite their 1-0 loss to Wolves at Old Tafford.
Even after missing first team action for 707 days, Jones showed there is still plenty he has to offer as a centre-back, and could yet stull prove a great acquisition for any team this January or in the summer.
Jones got a taste of action following the absences of regular defenders Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly, and went about the job as if he never left- a demonstration of mental strength that is hard to across in the sporting world today.
Manchester United’s dressing room is divided over the club’s contract policy after English players all benefited from renewal unlike foreign players.
Reports say some of the players have been left wondering why Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have all signed fresh terms at Old Trafford since Christmas despite disappointing performances.
United have continued to play hard ball over David De Gea’s demands to match highest earner Alexis Sanchez whilst Ander Herrera and Juan Mata have also failed to agree new deals despite having better season compared the English trio.
Some members of the United dressing room feel the English trio are undeserving of their new contracts considering the approach towards other squad members from the club in recent months.
Despite being limited to just 24 appearances this season due to injury problems, Jones penned a new four-and-a-half year deal in February.
That came just two months after fellow defender Smalling agreed to stay at the club until 2022, whilst Young has also been given a one-year contract extension.
Pundits have questioned manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bid to revamp United squad after the reent dealings.
A section of United fans were left unhappy after the club failed tie down Herrera and Mata, but quickly gave Young, Jones and Smalling new deals.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and the club’s fans are a “worried” lot after Harry Kane appeared to pick up a knock in the dying minutes of the 1-0 loss to Manchester United.
As Spurs pushed for a leveller in the final moments of the game, Kane was brought down by United defender Phil Jones.
The 25-year-old had to be helped off the Wembley pitch with just seconds left on the clock.
The Englishman had seven shots on goal throughout the match, but the Lilywhites failed to find a way past man of the match David de Gea.
Midfielder Moussa Sissoko had already limped off in the first-half to several Spurs fans dismay.
According to The Guardian, the severity of Kane’s injury is unclear at present but the timing is far from ideal, with Son Heung-min now departing for the Asia Cup.
“My worry is that it was a bad tackle in the last moment,” Pochettino said.
“It wasn’t the intention of the United player but it was a bad tackle and now he has bit of a swelling on his ankle and he was limping after the game.”