Simon Garner column: Phil Jones needs to stick as a centre back

This Is Lancashire: Phil Jones Phil Jones

I HOPE Phil Jones gets a chance to play for England in the World Cup.

But unless there are injuries I think he will be left on the bench.

I think Phil’s main problem is that ever since leaving Blackburn Rovers for Manchester United, he’s not settled in one position.

In many ways he is a victim of his own versatility as he can play in so many positions.

But for me he is a centre back and I think it’s time he turned round to Manchester United and their new manager Louis van Gaal and said, ‘this is my best position and this is where I want to play’.

You’ve got to do that sometimes as a player, be straight with your manager.

If the manager turns round and says, ‘fine, but if we’re struggling in midfield one game you may need to play there,’ then he should accept that but make it clear that his best position is centre back and that is where he wants to concentrate on.

With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leaving United I think he’s got a great chance of establishing himself as a centre back not just for his club, but for his country too.
Maybe he would already have done that had he remained at Rovers.

Usually with young players I would advise them to stay where they are.

But it was the right time to go for Phil, he was ready, and I think that’s been proven by how many games he’s played for United, albeit in different positions.

I notice my old team-mate Derek Fazackerley said this week that Rovers need a dominant centre back.

I can see that as at the back end of the season they were having to score two or three goals to win games, especially away from home.

They were simple goals they were conceding so maybe they do need another experienced centre back to come in and settle things down.

But I don’t expect anything to happen just yet as everyone’s focus is on the World Cup – not that I’m saying we’re going to buy anyone on show in Brazil!

I’m sure things will start to happen toward the end of the World Cup and I’m sure Gary Bowyer knows what he wants and he’ll be looking to see what’s available.

I’m backing Brazil and Argentina to win the World Cup with Spain my outside bet.

As for England, I think we’ve got to beat Italy tomorrow.

If we don’t I can’t see us making it through the group stage as I can’t see us beating Uruguay in our next game.

So beating Italy is crucial.

Comments (2)

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6:27am Sat 14 Jun 14

j bee says...

phil jones is never fit for long and a big lad at that
phil jones is never fit for long and a big lad at that j bee
  • Score: 0

8:52am Sat 14 Jun 14

Not_A_Loon_From_Pune says...

I agree with you Simon. I think if he concentrates at centre back he could be world class. In midfield he would only be average Premiership standard. If you look at world class centre backs like David Luiz, they all have the skill to play in midfield if required. However the ability to read the game and win a tackle then turn defence into attack is what makes the difference between a good stopper (e.g. Martin Keown) and a world class defender (e.g. David Luiz).
I agree with you Simon. I think if he concentrates at centre back he could be world class. In midfield he would only be average Premiership standard. If you look at world class centre backs like David Luiz, they all have the skill to play in midfield if required. However the ability to read the game and win a tackle then turn defence into attack is what makes the difference between a good stopper (e.g. Martin Keown) and a world class defender (e.g. David Luiz). Not_A_Loon_From_Pune
  • Score: 3

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