After two years out, Phil Jones made his return to the Manchester United starting line-up against Wolves.
It was a truly bizarre way to start 2022, and made even more odd by the fact Jones was United’s best player.
Jones’ performance was a credit to himself, while the poor performances from the rest of his teammates spoke volumes too.
Manager Ralf Rangnick gave a positive verdict after the game when asked to comment on Jones’ performance.
Rangnick told the club website: “I think he did well, not having played for two years at this kind of level.
“We didn’t see that [effects of the absence] in the game. He did his job and did exactly what I expected him to do.”
Confidence in Jones
Rangnick’s comments showed he had confidence in Jones after watching him at close quarters in training over the past month.
The manager would not have selected Jones if he did not feel he was up to the task of playing in a Premier League game.
Jones was alert and defended the box well, and even got forward to reinforce the attack on a couple of occasions in the second half, winning two free-kicks.
While Rangnick had confidence in Jones, not many United fans did, after seeing him at some of his lowest points over the past few years, under various managers.
Jones showed a resilient side to him tonight, putting in a performance to be proud of. He may even have earned himself another chance or two.
Now instead of being considered a last ditch option, Jones could even be viewed as a legitimate candidate for selection while Eric Bailly is off at the AFCON.
- Harry Maguire talks up 'amazing' Manchester United teammate
- 'Big champion': Manager praises 'disillusioned' Manchester United ace following agonising loss
- Manchester United loanee tipped to have big impact in title race by Sky pundit
- 'All the talent in the world': Maguire challenges Manchester United wonderkid to kick on
- United youngster Amad pictured in Rangers kit as loan deal sealed
- Photo: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pictured as Manchester United Women U21 win 5-0
- Pictures: Pogba posts training update during break as Ronaldo joins another Manchester United teammate
- Scottish league champions set to sign Manchester United wonderkid on loan
- Two make debuts as Manchester United under-18s reach Premier League Cup quarter-finals