Phil Jones has “disappointed” at Manchester United, says Sam Allardyce, with the defender failing to fulfil the potential that motivated Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City to pursue his signature.
A versatile performer who burst onto the scene at Blackburn had the pick of English football’s top clubs when preparing to make a move in 2011.
He eventually opted to cross Lancashire and link up with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils at Old Trafford.
Big things were expected of him, but despite racking up close to 200 appearances for United, Jones has struggled to fulfil his potential amid form and fitness issues.
Allardyce, who handed the now 26-year-old his senior bow as a teenager at Blackburn, told talkSPORT of the stunted progress: “He made his debut with me against Chelsea, he came on and won man-of-the-match marking Didier Drogba. We drew 1-1.
“He certainly looked the business at 18 years old.
“Certainly injuries have hampered him a huge amount, but he should have gone a lot further.
“He’s playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, it was obviously a massive move for him.
“He could have had the choice between Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, you name it, all those clubs were in for him but he chose Man United and I thought it was a great choice under Sir Alex.
“Sir Alex said to me in his [Jones’] early days at United, ‘wow, Sam, I’ve got a great player here’.
“But it hasn’t quite worked out for him.
“I think sometimes he hasn’t quite learned from his experiences, he’s still got that edginess, that diving in type of attitude when he should leave it alone.
“I’m slightly disappointed he hasn’t been as big as I expected him to be.
“I expected him to be in the England side on a regular basis, to lead England into European Championships and World Cups on the form he showed at Blackburn when I had him.”
Jones provided another unfortunate example of his faults on his most recent outing for United, with an own goal recorded in a 2-1 Champions League defeat to Valencia.
He will now be sweating on his position in Jose Mourinho’s plans heading towards an eagerly-anticipated Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday.