Jones not guaranteed long-term United future
Phil Jones will be left fretting over his Manchester United long-term future despite signing a new contract earlier this year.
The Old Trafford and England central defender penned new terms in February until 2023, with his employers also including the option of a further year, following much speculation he could be the odd-man-out under boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Jones was injured at the start of the new campaign and has yet to feature in 2019-20, but should be available to enter the Premier League fray once again after the current international break, with high-flying Leicester City up next for the stuttering Red Devils at the Theatre of Dreams.
United last week allowed fellow centre-back Chris Smalling to join Roma on a season-long loan, as Solskjaer trims the defensive fat following the £80million outlay on Harry Maguire.
Jones is now 27 and is supposed to be entering his peak, although a succession of injuries have blighted his United progress ever since he joined them from Blackburn Rovers in 2011.
United moved to protect themselves with a new deal worth around £120,000-per-week, with the player entering the final year of his contract, and United insiders state nothing more should be read into that.
However, the assertion is clear, Jones now needs to stay fit and convince his manager that he can be relied on for the long-term, otherwise a suitable offer next summer could yet make United consider a sale.
Former boss Sir Alex Ferguson perhaps didn’t do the Lancastrian any favours when he once likened his youthful promise to that of United’s legendary ‘Busby Babe’, Duncan Edwards.
That only whetted the appetite of the Stretford Enders, who have waited for Jones to come good, only to see numerous false dawns be cruelly impacted by injury.
United are at the beginning of a squad rebuild and Jones, along with Smalling and Marcos Rojo, are now firmly under the spotlight when it comes to how they perform this term.
Jones has made 189 appearances in eight years at United – averaging just 23 games a season – but Solskjaer remains a fan of the player and will remain patient for now at least.
Aidan Perkins is a senior journalist that specialises in football stories. Aidan, a Liverpool fan, also has a broad knowledge of several other sports.