Phil Jones at right back should have been consigned to Manchester United's past
Manchester United continued with the 3-5-2 formation which earned them a draw against Liverpool when they faced Partizan Belgrade last night.
But in the second half, Aaron Wan-Bissaka went off as part of a double change, United reverted to a 4-2-3-1 as Phil Jones went to right back.
That was something Sir Alex Ferguson used to do but should have been consigned to United’s history.
Right back stifled Jones’ development
Ferguson used to use stints at right back to get players like Jones, who was 19 when he moved to Old Trafford in 2011, gametime.
While the theory was that it would make him more versatile – he also used to play in midfield – it actually just hampered his ability to become a specialist centre half.
That’s one of the reasons he hasn’t realised his vast potential and is now something of a figure of fun.
It’s also something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be wary of as he shunts Axel Tuanzebe around his defence – he has already played right back, left back and centre back this season.
Jones lacks the pace or mobility to play at full back
Jones isn’t even at the required level to play centre half for United any more.
He is below Marcos Rojo in the pecking order because he has too many mistakes in him and lacks the ability to keep pace with elite strikers.
Those issues are only exacerbated when he is shunted out wide. His lack of pace is more exposed, he is in a position he is unfamiliar with and he is a poor defender one against one.
It may have only been out of necessity, to protect Wan-Bissaka’s fitness, but Phil Jones as a right back should be consigned to United’s history.
- 5 alternatives to Frenkie de Jong for Manchester United, one is free, another is the PL's top bargain
- Manchester United target Antony could leave Ajax this summer, admits Daley Blind
- 19-year-old defensive midfielder thrilled to join Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United training
- 'He can completely destroy an opponent': Ten Hag's £14.4m Ajax star raves about former Manchester United boss
- Manchester United XI that could leave this summer, including two France internationals