football

Phil Jones sends message to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Rio Ferdinand criticism


Phil Jones hasn’t played a first team game for Manchester United since May 2019 (Picture: Getty)

Phil Jones has thanked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for having his back following stinging criticism from Rio Ferdinand.

The 29-year-old’s career has been blighted by a series of serious injuries which has prevented him from making a first team appearance for the Red Devils since May 2019.

Jones’ decision to fight for his first team future, in spite of the competition for places which intensified following the arrival of Raphael Varane, was heavily criticised by his former teammate who told him ‘he should have gone ages ago’.

Solskjaer responded by admonishing Ferdinand and praising Jones’ mental toughness having battled back from adversity time and again to the extent where he is now pushing to be involved in the first team set-up again this season.

Responding to his manager’s words of encouragement, Jones said: ‘That was really nice [to hear]. I spoke to him afterwards and said thank you for the words because it meant a lot, it really did.

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‘There’s nothing [that means] more [as] a footballer, than for someone, managers, staff, coaches, players, to have your back. To feel really supported by him was a nice feeling. At the time, I needed that and it was nice.’

He added: ‘Obviously, I’ve been through hell and back over the last couple of years. I struggled with my knee a little bit and [there] came a point after lockdown where I thought enough was enough.

‘I kept myself in great shape over lockdown and came back. But I remember just training out here [Carrington] and going into the doc and saying ‘enough’s enough’. Unfortunately, there was going to be time off the pitch, which I knew was going to be difficult for me, but it was something that I had to do.

‘Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel now, and I’ve been back training, played a few behind-closed-doors games and I’m feeling really good at the minute.’


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