Rio Ferdinand has claimed he would be “embarrassed” if he was in Harry Maguire’s position, after a returning Phil Jones produced a solid performance in his absence.
Rio Ferdinand felt that the likes of United’s club captain Maguire would be ‘unhappy’, but that would be down to his ‘own form’.
The podcast touched upon Jones’ impressive return to action against Wolves last week, which was his first senior appearance for the Reds for nearly two years.
United’s number four was visibly emotional at the final whistle which showed how much the return meant to him after a long period in the wilderness.
Speaking about Jones’ commitment and desire, Ferdinand said: “A lot of people talk about whether it really means anything to the players.
“But that little scene when Phil Jones finished the game and heard the fans appreciating the performance after what he has been through, clapping him off and singing his name, it made him well up and there were tears.
“That emotion that came out shows the hard graft and yards that went in behind the scenes, which we weren’t privy to and we did call him out at times because we weren’t aware of the situation.”
Jones came back into the side against Bruno Lage’s team alongside Raphael Varane due to Maguire being ruled out with a chest injury.
There were no signs of rustiness from Jones who looked like he hadn’t been away, seemingly slotting into the heart of United’s defence and was arguably our best player.
In contrast, Maguire has struggled for form and consistency this season since returning from the European Championships.
After being signed for a world record £80m (BBC Sport), Ferdinand was asked how he would feel being in Maguire’s position after seeing Jones’ display in his absence, and there not being a noticeable difference in performance levels between the pair.
Ferdinand said: “I’d be embarrassed, I’ve got to be honest, you would.”
The former United centre back felt that Jones’ return couldn’t be compared to when he made his return to the side following a drugs ban.
Ferdinand added: “I wasn’t injured, I trained and worked harder than at any other time during my career. In the two years Jones hasn’t really trained and he’s been injured.
“When Phil Jones started training a few months ago, Bruno Fernandes said that’s the first time he’s seen him on the grass since he joined the club.”
Following last night’s FA Cup third round win against Aston Villa, Ralf Rangnick revealed that he hoped both Jones and Maguire, who missed the cup tie through injury, will be fit to return for the trip to Villa Park on Saturday.
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