Out of Manchester United’s defenders this season, Phil Jones has been the best of a bad bunch.
Still at fault for some mistimed lunges and positional problems, Jones has otherwise been a very consistent performer. The fact he has made five more interceptions (17) than any other defender in the Premier League is indicative of that.
So, United fans were understandably extremely surprised to see The Sun’s back-page headline today.
“Phil Jones has four mouths to save his United career” proclaimed Neil Custis.
Quite why Custis chose to attack Jones when both Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling have had slower starts to the season is very strange.
There were rumours this summer that United did try to offload Jones but they are currently unsubstantiated and as far as United fans are concerned, Jones has a big role to play in United’s future.
Now is the season where the real Jones will show himself. In his favoured centre-back position, Jones has made a strong start to the season and he will only get better the more games he plays there.
With Evans and Smalling both looking so shaky, Jones and new signing Marcos Rojo are the only centre-backs who are certain to start against QPR if fit, with potentially Tyler Blackett filling the third spot if Van Gaal decides to continue with the 3-5-2 formation he has used so far this season.
Jones is far from the finished product at United but he is also far from finished at United and the only axe that should be falling is on Custis’ article.