Ahead of England’s 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland last weekend, Paul Scholes expressed his belief that Manchester United’s Phil Jones isn’t “clever enough” to play at centre-back.
Jones played at right-back for England and Scholes suggested the 23-year-old’s pace and power makes him a better fit on the flank in the long-term.
Since moving to Man United in 2011, Jones has played at centre-back, right-back and in midfield but the player himself has often spoke of how he prefers to line up in the heart of defence.
We asked our Twitter followers if they agreed with Scholes’ view:
@PeoplesPerson_ Absolutely. Jones has had to make 10 times as many last ditch tackles already than Rio had to in his entire career.
— Nikhil Mehra (@TweetinderKaul) June 8, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ can't disagree, mind does wander at centre back a lot
— Jamie (@Jamiep7) June 8, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ At the moment, yes. Only 23 and has shown signs of improvement, still think he'll be great for us.
— M. (@BigDaveSave) June 8, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ he doesn't have the leadership/comm skills to keep a back 4 organized. His tackles that injure himself don't help either
— The John Babbitt (@BabbittCGroup) June 8, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ its not just about Jones. Can't see any English player who plays with his brains. Apart from Carrick.
— abed tarraf (@TarrafAbodi) June 8, 2015
@peoplesperson_ Can't agree fully. Jones has been played at RB, DM also. Gets injured too often. Need full season at CB to judge
— iMallu (@NaanumEngineer) June 8, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ I do right now, but that's not to suggest he can't learn to play a smarter game. He is only 23, and can still mature.
— Joe Harker (@MrJoeHarker) June 8, 2015
The hope for United fans is that Jones can improve in the same way as Chris Smalling, who enjoyed a drastic upturn in form last season.
However, time is running out for the player. Other defenders in his age group, such as Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, are superior in almost every way and are developing quicker.