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Jones ready to put his body on the line
PHIL JONES has had more stunning endorsements of his ability than any current Premier League player.
Just consider these. Sir Alex Ferguson, who signed him for Manchester United for £16.5million six years ago, claimed he could become the club’s best-ever player.
Sir Bobby Charlton stated that Jones reminded him of Old Trafford legend Duncan Edwards.
Former England boss Fabio Capello compared the ex-Backburn defender to Italian great Franco Baresi.
And current England boss Gareth Southgate says Jones, 25, is the best defender in the country.
So what does the down-to-earth United and England centre-back make of all that? With a smile he said: “My wife, Kaya, has a description of me, too – she’s always saying I’m clumsy!”
It is Jones’ way of underlining he will not get carried away by praise – or be allowed to.
And he said: “When you are younger, as daft as it sounds, you don’t really take too much notice. You just don’t for whatever reason.
“The more experience you get and the older you get, maybe you do take all that into consideration.
“They were comments that spoke highly of me, which is always nice coming from the calibre of those people. It is nice.”
Jones continues to make light of it all by saying of that comparison to Edwards: “The United fans must have thought they were getting some player – then they realised what they had!
“It wasn’t really any extra pressure. If you are getting praise, that’s great. As daft as it sounds, I try not to take it too much to heart.
“It’s the same as getting criticised. You can’t be up there one minute and down the next.
“The game is what it is and I just try to focus on me and not what is going on around me.
“What Gareth said, it’s definitely not what I think about myself. There are a lot of talented players in the squad. Everyone wants to wear the England shirt and take pride in doing that.”
But no one should think that Jones lacks confidence. And while his brave, robust style has caused him problems, he is adamant he is not injury prone.
He says: “I’ve never surprised myself, as I know what I am capable of. Some people like it, some people don’t. But my manager at United, Jose Mourinho, likes it. He must like what he’s seeing, so I’m happy I’m playing. And I definitely see myself as a centre-back. I do position. I can defensive midfie definitely see m always what I sai
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