‘I wish I could have played more’ – Phil Jones bids farewell to Man Utd in heartfelt statement after an injury-ravaged 12 years at Old Trafford
- Joined the Red Devils in 2011
- Won the Premier League & FA Cup
- 13 appearances in last four years
WHAT HAPPENED? The versatile 31-year-old was once tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson to become the greatest British player of all-time, such was the potential he possessed when completing a 2011 transfer from Blackburn, but injuries have taken their toll on the 27-cap former England international. Jones has only made 13 appearances for United across the last four seasons, with the Red Devils revealing that he will be let go once his current contract expires in the summer.
WHAT THEY SAID: Jones has told United’s official website of a disappointing end to a spell in Manchester that has delivered 229 appearances in total: "It's been very difficult, the last couple of years. There's no denying that. There is no hiding away from that. My family have been absolutely instrumental in keeping me on the straight and narrow and keeping me focused, to try to get fit and try to play more. And, you know, I've missed playing football. I missed it. You grow up playing football and all you want to do is play football. It's all I've known, from such a young age, is to do what you love doing for a living. I've been fortunate enough to do that, albeit not as much as I would have liked.
"I've worked tirelessly hard. I literally left no stone unturned. I tried to get back as quick as I could, every time I was out in the last couple of years. I think the highlight for me would have to be the Wolves game [his return from injury last season], when I came back. That was just a moment that I'll never forget. It gives me goosebumps now, thinking about it. I mean I worked so, so hard to get to that stage of fitness. That was a huge, huge moment in my career and the fans, that day, were incredible. The love that they showed me for that game, the passion that they showed, was sensational. And I can't thank them enough for that. They've been a constant support throughout my time here."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Jones savoured Premier League title glory under Ferguson in 2013, while also boasting Europa League, FA Cup and Community Shield winners’ medals to his name. Jones posted on social media for the first time since 2017 to issue a heartfelt statement to United fans, underlying his regret at not being able to play more.
He wrote on Twitter: "My time at Manchester United has been nothing short of incredible. To wear this shirt just once, to wear this badge and represent everyone associated with it, was an honour. I wish I could have played more. I wish I could have given more to the many squads I played alongside. I will say, from the bottom of my heart, I did everything I could. I did everything the medical team asked of me. I never left a stone unturned in the pursuit of living my dream and having the opportunity to represent Manchester United. It’s not a time to be sad. It’s a time to look back, for me and my family, and be happy that I managed to live a dream at United. I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me at Manchester United, where I’ve made friends for life."
Letter to the fans. pic.twitter.com/fmNV1eR9np— Phil Jones (@PhilJones4) May 19, 2023
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Jones’ last outing for United came against Brentford on the final day of the 2021-22 campaign, with the hard-working defender now mulling over his options as he seeks to find a new challenge outside of Old Trafford.