Pressure on a player signing for Manchester United will always be immense, the expectation of representing one of the biggest clubs in the world does play a part on your performances but being labelled as one player who could be the best ever for the club is something else altogether.
Phil Jones was the man who was expected to be a game changer not only for United but also for England but that has just not happened in his career. The 24-year-old, yes he is still that young, seems to have been at Manchester United for a number of years but he only joined the Red Devils in 2011 and there has already been a lot said about him.
Jones joined the club from Blackburn Rovers and started his career brightly under Sir Alex Ferguson but the problem with the English defender has been a stagnation in his growth. This has happened due to him not fulfilling his potential but also due to his wretched injury record.
The defender has had a total of 13 different injuries for Manchester United since signing for the giants of English football and his future at the club is in doubt. Louis van Gaal has not been able to use him effectively and with footballers having very little time to impress, his time at the club could be coming to an end.
Goodbye to Jones
The youngster was supposed to fill a gaping hole in the United squad this season which took place as legends such as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic left the side. Jones did play a few years with those two stalwarts and Van Gaal would have expected him to step up and do the job but it has been Chris Smalling who has actually developed into a better player as he leads the back four for United now.
It has been a surprise to see Daley Blind being used this effectively by Van Gaal and this does not bode well for the 24-year-old Jones. Manchester United do boast an extremely tight defence under Van Gaal though Jones has only played 10 games all season for the Red Devils.
The Preston-born defender also had injury concerns last season and only managed 24 games in all competitions for Van Gaal as United looked to build on a fourth-placed finish. Jones might be versatile in playing as a right-back or defensive midfielder but that does not help his case as long as he keeps on suffering injuries.
Manchester United, under Van Gaal or another manager next season, will not be waiting for players to get fit before they have a chance to shine, at least not in the case of Jones. The defender hasn’t been all that impressive in the recent games that he has played and even last season he was not all great for the Red half of Manchester United.
For all the potential spoken about, Jones has not been able to fulfil it, sadly, this could be another player who would be sold next season or should be sold. United need a better defender and Jones could be collateral as the side look to regain their attempts at challenging for the Premier League title next season.