Rio Ferdinand takes aim at ‘WASTE OF TIME’ Phil Jones as he urges his former team-mate to ‘find a new club’ and insists Manchester United should have offloaded the defender YEARS ago
- Phil Jones made his comeback in United’s closed doors friendly against Burnley
- The defender had been sidelined since January 2020 with a knee injury
- He has two years left on his contract and hopes to reinstate himself in the side
- Rio Ferdinand claimed Jones is blocking an academy player from the first team
Rio Ferdinand has claimed Phil Jones is blocking a Manchester United academy player from a first team opportunity as he urged the 29-year-old to leave Old Trafford.
Jones played for the first time in 19 months in a behind-closed doors friendly against Burnley last week after being sidelined with a knee injury.
The defender took part in United’s pre-season training and is plotting his way back into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Rio Ferdinand has urged his former United team-mate Phil Jones (centre) to ‘find a new club’
Jones has two years left on his £130,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford and is keen to rebuild his United career.
However, his chances of regaining a regular starting spot are slim after the £42million arrival of Raphael Varane and Ferdinand has called time on his former team-mate’s Old Trafford stay.
Ferdinand claimed Jones’s exit was long overdue and believes the defender should have been offloaded before Chris Smalling left for Roma in 2019.
The former United man claimed Jones (right) should have left when Chris Smalling (left) did
‘He’s taking up a youth team player’s position in that squad right now,’ Ferdinand told Vibe with FIVE.
‘He’s had too many injuries… I was in the same team as Phil Jones, he came from Blackburn as a young kid, 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 should’ve gone before Chris Smalling went. Find a new club and play some football.’
Ferdinand claimed Phil Jones is blocking a United academy player from the first team
Transfermarkt lists 23 separate issues during Jones’s United career, the latest being the serious knee injury he has spent the past 18 months battling back from.
It means a decade at United has seen Jones play just 224 times, less than half the games the team has played.
In the 2013-14 campaign, he featured in 39 games but hasn’t topped 30 since, amid a recurring nightmare of injuries.
But despite spending most of his United career on the injury table, the Red Devils hierarchy offered Jones a four-year contract extension in 2019, which keeps him tied to Old Trafford until 2023.
Jones returned to pre-season training this summer after 19 months sidelined with an injury
‘He’s lacked consistency throughout his career at Man United. That’s a fact, for all the reasons I stated before,’ Ferdinand added.
‘I am baffled at how he’s still been given a new deal at the club given his past few years at the club. It just doesn’t make sense to me how you get a new deal.
‘I remember back in the day you’d have to do some absolute graft to get a new deal. You’d have to be putting in performances, you’d have to be a vital member of the team. Phil Jones isn’t that.
‘He’s done well. Listen, good luck to him if you can get it. Staying at Man United is a great gig, but I look at him as a person, are you really going to be happy sitting there all these years.
The defender (left) has played just 224 times, spending most of his United career injured
‘I think [Danny] Drinkwater has been the same a little bit [at Chelsea]. It’s quite easy to sit there a little bit, hide behind the curtains.
‘To be fair to Phil Jones, I’ve not seen him come out and speak and clarify, he might have had injuries we don’t know about. But if he’s been fit and has been sitting there like he has been, sign a new deal and stay and not go out on loan… that’s not what a footballer wants to do.
‘There are players who are happy to just sit and clubs and not play and just chill. Winston Bogarde did it at Chelsea for about three or four years. Signed a big deal and commuted in from Holland.
‘If I was in the squad with someone like that I wouldn’t talk to them. They are a waste of time, why would I chat to you and give you any energy, taking that away from my other team-mates who are here to play and go into battle for 90 minutes every week.’