Phil Jones has signed an extended contract with Manchester United that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2023, as per the club’s official website.
United also have the option to trigger a further one-year extension, which would take Jones into his thirties at the club he joined in 2011.
Jones said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. Manchester United has been a big part of my life for eight years and I love everything about this club.”
Jones’ injury record and inconsistent form has hampered his development at Old Trafford and doubts remain over whether he is good enough to cut the mustard regularly at the heart of the United defence.
And in Timothy Fosu-Mensah and especially Axel Tuanzebe, United have a promising new wave of defenders who may well have a better chance of developing into the played needed to create backline improvement at Old Trafford.
Tuanzebe has impressed on loan at Aston Villa and given the lingering mediocrity of United’s current central defensive options – Victor Lindelof aside – he might have hoped to return next season for more first-team opportunities.
But unless the plan for Jones has been to renew his contract to preserve his sell-on value for the summer, his new deal presents another obstacle to Tuanzebe’s development.
Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo have also signed new deals within the last twelve months – despite not doing an awful lot performance-wise to justify it.
And if a young, promising defender like Tuanzebe cannot get a chance when United are keen for defensive improvement and the others in his position are being rewarded with new deals as well, it is beginning to look like he won’t ever get his chance to shine…