Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has slammed England International Phil Jones in an interview today.
The ex-Manchester United midfielder has claimed that the former Blackburn defender is not clever enough to shine as a centre back. Lack of positional sense means that Jones will have to adapt as a full back, said Scholes.
Jones has had a stop start career at Old Trafford so far and has missed numerous games through injuries. However, the England defender has been very effective at times, especially when deployed as a defensive midfielder by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Jones is a versatile defender who can play anywhere across the back four and as a defensive midfielder. His robust nature and ability on the ball makes him a powerful ball playing defender.
Scholes’ claims that Jones is not clever enough to shine as a centre back are perfectly understandable, especially when you take into account the number of times he is dragged out of position, by strikers who excel in off-the-ball movement.
Jones’ aggression has often got the better of him in terms of positioning. This could be a development issue and might get better working under a good defensive manager in Louis Van Gaal.
Still quite young as centre backs rarely mature before 27-28, Jones has had little game time for a player his age and therefore it is hard to make a judgement on him yet. However, his aggression as a player can definitely be channeled and put into better use as a right sided full back or a destroyer in the midfield.
“I just think at centre-back, when he is playing against clever forwards, he tends to get dragged out of position quite easily,” Scholes told ITV.
“At right-back you still need to be clever positionally but I think he can use his pace and power and he hasn’t got a bad delivery either.
“When he first came to Manchester United he was a right-back, he played right-back all the time. He has got strength and power and he can get up and down the pitch. I just think at centre-half he is not quite clever enough to do it.”
Further, with Van Gaal keen to sign a centre back this summer (Otamendi), it would make sense for Jones to move on to the right side and continue to play week in week out, especially considering that United don’t have a natural right back apart from Rafael.
However, it will be interesting to see if Jones can cope with the workload as a full back, especially because of his upper body weight and his fitness. Remember Micah Richards? did not end well for him.