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Phil Jones is one of those players that seem to get rave reviews without actually doing much. Potential is a word often banded about when describing young players, especially when they play for one of the Big 6, but this prodigious talent has potential in bucket loads, such large buckets in fact it could even hold Nani’s ego. It certainly contained Ronaldo.
Bought for £16.5 million from Blackburn in 2011, it seemed as though Fergie had spent big for a relatively unknown player. This was at the time when it was widely believed that Chris Smalling would be pushing for a place, so why was Jones bought?
Well, it turns out Jones is certainly a better player than Smalling. In fact, I would say Jones is better than a great deal of players. His versatility is something to behold, his skill is something to saviour but his character is something to cherish. Character is something that cannot be taught. It can be bought, but only for serious money.
I sit here writing this piece while watching Arsenal put in a meagre and spineless showing against Bayern Munich. The only player who has shown any sort of character is Wilshere, and guess what, he is Arsenal’s most influential player. I don’t want to enter Wenger’s dreams, or his nightmares, of which there must be many, but I would suggest that character and steel will be high on his summer shopping list; all of which Phil Jones possesses, in abundance.
Weak players are all around us here in England. Welbeck misses an easy chance; suddenly he is down on the ground, seeking to conjure up some excuse for his poor miss. But Jones is brave. SO brave in fact that when he twisted his ankle against Reading, he didn’t take up the medic’s offer of a stretcher, he chose to limp off, the pain etched across his face. He could be stupidly brave. That’s certainly one theory.
Or he could be seeking to gain a mental advantage over his future opponents by seeking to prove that he never gives in. And we all know that Fergie loves to dabble in eccentric mind games with his enemies. It seems Fergie has found a clone of himself.
Not many 20-year olds would relish taking on arguably the greatest player in the world at this present time (Team Ronaldo or Messi, take your pick) but he was asked to do a job, and boy did he do.
Throwing himself into the battle with gusto and a fair dose of tactical nous, Ronaldo was not as influential on that cold night in Madrid as he could have been, and there would have been fireworks had that happened. Fergie wouldn’t have liked that.
Written by Tom Thornton
Follow Tom on Twitter @ThornyITFC
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