Man Utd: Phil Jones scores incredible goal in training in 2020
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Manchester United star Phil Jones has revealed he thanked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for defending him after being criticised by Rio Ferdinand in August. Ferdinand called his old team-mate over his fitness issues, claiming he was taking up a youth team player’s spot in the team. And Jones has now lifted the lid on what happened in the aftermath.
In August, Ferdinand said: “He’s taking up a youth team player’s position in that squad right now.
“He’s had too many injuries now. I was in the same team as Phil Jones.
“He came from Blackburn as a young kid and 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. I think he should’ve gone ages ago.”
He did later apologise, however, saying: “The one area where I would apologise to Phil Jones and anyone at Manchester United who has been a part of his journey.
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“From speaking to people behind the scenes last week, he’s had real issues with injuries.
“To the extent that Bruno Fernandes only trained with him for the first time last week – so that tells you how long he’s been injured.
“So I didn’t know that, that’s not been communicated to the public. So from that stand point, for someone who’s been injured, knowing what that does to you from a mental point of view, I hold my hands up and I apologise.”
Solskjaer fiercely defended Jones after Ferdinand’s initial comments.
The 48-year-old said: “Phil has had a horrible 18-19 months and probably a year before that as well with injuries.
“Phil is a no fuss, get on with it type of guy. I think that was out of order completely (from Ferdinand).
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“I know more than anyone how it feels to be injured at that stage. He’s still not 30 years of age.
“Since I came here he’s battled with this knee injury, put his body on the line… he’s never done anything but give everything for the club.
“I was out for two years in a three-year period with a knee injury. Phil has battled valiantly… He’ll be there.
“For me as a manager, to see that he can see light at the end of tunnel is great because I’ve been through the same.”
And Jones, speaking to club media, has now revealed he thanked Solskjaer for his comments.
“Yeah, that was really nice,” he said.
“I spoke to him after and said thank you for the words, because it meant a lot, it really did because there’s nothing [that means] more [as] a footballer, for someone, managers, staff, coaches, players, to have your back.
“To feel really supported by him was a nice feeling. At the time, I needed that. It was nice.”
Jones also revealed that constant criticism had led to him abandoning social media a long time ago.
“Difficult, very difficult,” he said.
“I mean, I stepped away from social media a long time ago but it’s difficult because all your friends read it, your family read it and they support you, they want the best for you.
“They don’t want to see their mate, their husband, their dad getting slaughtered all over the papers or all over the media, so it’s tough because mentally I was going through a tough time and to read stuff as well.
“I always say that footballers don’t have a voice, your voice comes when you finish playing football and no-one really cares anymore.
“So, it’s difficult but it’s something I’ve learned to deal with, especially over the time I’ve been at United and the more experience you get, the older you get, the better you learn to deal with those things.
“I suppose for young players coming into the game now, not just at Man United, but all over the world, it’s a very hostile, toxic place to come into and they’ve got to be able to deal with that mentally as well as physically.”
And he added: “Yeah, I think I’m definitely old fashioned when it comes to things like that.
“I look how the game’s been developed over the last 10 years, and the way social media has developed and Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and all these social media sites, it’s difficult to stay away from it.
“It’s difficult not to get detracted by it, but like I said, young players coming into the game, I think it’s difficult for them not to read it.”
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