Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has lambasted both his former club and Phil Jones over the defender’s most recent contract extension.
The injury-prone United centre-back has made just 13 starts in all competitions since signing a new deal back in February 2019. He hasn’t made a first team appearance since January ‘20.
Jones’ prolonged absence has seen him slip down the defensive pecking order and the Red Devils have appeared incapable of finding a buyer willing to match his reported £75k p/w wage.
As covered by The Daily Mirror, Ferdinand has now criticised the situation on The Vibe, his YouTube channel.
“He’s taking up a youth team player’s position in the squad right now,“ he said.
“He’s had too many injuries…I was in the same team as Phil Jones…everyone was saying he was going to be this great player.
“Huge potential but injuries have absolutely annihilated his career and then confidence issues at certain times as well.
“He’s never been able to fully establish himself in the team. Whether it’s injuries, lack of form, lack of confidence.”
While Jones’ horrendous luck with injuries might elicit sympathy, Ferdinand was less forgiving of the club’s decision to award him with a new deal despite his already chequered injury record.
“I think he should’ve gone ages ago. He should’ve gone before Chris Smalling…I’m baffled at how he’s still been given a new deal at the club given his past few years…It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Ferdinand suggests the seemingly nonsensical contract extension underscores falling standards at the club.
“I remember back in the day you’d have to do some absolute graft to get a new deal…you’d have to be a vital member of the team. Phil Jones isn’t that…It’s quite easy to sit there a little bit, hide behind the curtains.”
It’s a damning critique of the self-inflicted bind the Old Trafford hierarchy finds itself in.
And, while strongly worded, the general sentiment echoes opinions expressed by much of the United fan base about the club’s failure to offload players whose salaries seem to have outstripped their on-pitch worth.