Phil Jones has been much maligned during his time at Manchester United.

The centre-back has been pilloried for a string of defensive mistakes.  And yet he he remains at Old Trafford and recently signed a new contract.

Signed for £17million (BBC) back in 2011, Jones was tipped to be the next big thing at United.  In fact, some fans even mentioned him alongside club legend Duncan Edwards.

Fast-forward eight years and Jones has not lived up to that billing.  But is he really as bad as people think?  And does he deserve more credit for his recent form?

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has transformed United both on and off the pitch, bringing the feel-good factor back to the training ground and a winning mentality back to the team. And Jones has been integral to that.

 

While United’s attackers have taken the headlines, the 26-year-old has played his part, helping secure clean sheets against Reading, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.

He has also started eight of Solskjaer’s 11 games in charge, coming off the bench in the other three.  In short, the current United boss clearly rates him. And the club’s fans should, too.

People often pointed to Jones’s fitness issues as the main reason for his struggles.  They argued that, if he played regularly, he would impress.

Now those supporters are getting their wish, and they may have been right all along.