Phil Jones where should he play?

4 Dec

Jones has been mentioned in the same breath at times with two of our greatest ever players Big Duncan Edwards and Bryan Robson. It is very early to start to talk about him in that bracket but he is a superb prospect and already one of the first names on the teem sheet.

His versatility has enabled him to play various positions full back, centre back and midfield. While this makes him an ideal team player and will help him get an understanding of the various positions on the field it must restrict his development as a specialist. Playing each week in one position against various players, teams and formations is the only way he will fulfil his potential.

Most pundits believe that to be as a centre back, personally I believe his abilities are best utilised in centre midfield.  As a centre back Jones will be restricted in how he can impact a game. However in centre midfield he can run games, break attacks up before danger happens and turn it in to attacks. I like midfield players to be able to change patterns of games aka Keane and Robson to be a leader in a critical portion of the pitch.  His brilliant reading of the game and ability to cut out passes and drive forward through the middle combined with his strength and tackling are aspects of our midfield which have been sadly lacking for years.

Moreover he is a leader even at such a tender age he is far from scared of ruffling feathers if he thinks experienced international players aren’t doing what they are supposed to. When the team is out of form or being out played it is critical to have a leader in centre midfield who can pick the rest of the team up and lead by example and show the opposition we wont roll over or be bullied.

The question of whether he can score the goals that a midfielder should score is as yet a question I cannot answer only guess. He has the determination and the drive, the touch and gets in to dangerous positions, now he has scored I expect more to come on a regular basis. I personally think he will score 10 or more a season.

If we restrict such a wonderful player to centre back or full back we would  only be hurting ourselves and restricting a player from becoming what he can be.

Of course he needs to play there each week to gain understanding of the role and confidence. Furthermore he is wasted playing centre midfield if he is to be restricted to man marking the opposition as he was against Adams – Liverpool. He is a far better player than Adams and the logic of putting a better player on a player who isn’t in the same league I found puzzling, although Fergie no doubt thought everything went through Adams and putting him out of action would restrict their attacking options and control of midfield.

Cappello and Fergie have realised his potential in midfield and Fergie may have hinted in an interview Jones will be given an extended run in that position. I predict a very bright future.

I wrote an earlier article why I don’t think Rooney is suitable for centre midfield. https://themancunianred.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/rooney-in-centre-midfield/

Please feel free at any point even in years to come if I am wrong, I know people who object to this personally I strongly believe if you want to state an opinion you should be judged on the what you argue, I certainly wont take offence if I am wrong and will take the criticism!

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2 Responses to “Phil Jones where should he play?”

  1. malhussaini December 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I think that Jones’s range of passing, ball control and shooting ability would limit his progression to being a very good midfielder. He most definitely has the drive and is able to make the tackles. I am not opposed to giving him an extended run in midfield but I feel that the formation played and the choice of whom to partner Jones with would be detrimental to his success in this position.

    • themancunianred December 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      I agree Jones’s passing doesn’t put him in the Scholes/Carrick class etc but I disagree with his first touch I think his first touch can often beat players it is very clever. I think his passing would improve to what degree I’m not sure but my first choice of midfield player would always be a leader, ball winner, game changer. Winning the ball driving us forward reading the game making great runs, I think are essencial to a great midfield.

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