Phil Jones wants to replace Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the heart of Manchester United’s defence this season.
Following the departure of the two veteran defenders this summer, Jones, 22 along with Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, have the opportunity to cement themselves as first choice in Louis van Gaal‘s new three-man central defence.
Jones, who started Van Gaal’s first game in charge at United, knows it is now up to him to impress the new manager.
“Of course, replacing those guys is what I ultimately want to to be doing,” he said.
“Everyone is trying to impress and hopefully we can start the season off well.
“You’ve got to thrive on the challenge. We’ve lots two great defenders in Rio and Nemanja. But that’s football and we move on.
“We’ve got good players to replace them and hopefully we can all step up and improve that.”
As it stands, Jones has a strong chance of being a first choice defender, if only because of the lack of competition. United continue to be linked with the German defender Mat Hummels, with reports this morning suggesting that a deal was on the potentially on the cards.
Jones has performed solidly thusfar during United’s preseason tour of the United States and said he and his teammates were adjusting to the new three man back line.
He added: “The way this system works, if one of us goes in the other two have got to come round and cover. But it’s the same when your playing two at the back, one goes up for the header and the other comes round.
“Of course, as a defender you need a lot of communication. It’s about talking to the people around you and if we get that right we’ll be good.
“It’s a learning process, but we’re all pulling in the right direction.”
Jones now has the opportunity to prove himself to Van Gaal and become his main man in defence because with a clean slate, everybody is starting on a level playing field.