EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

14/02/2014 10:00, Report by Adam Marshall
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Jones recalls rise to top

Phil Jones on the influences and experiences that shaped him as a player...

Which players did you idolise growing up?
I tried to model my game on good centre-backs in the Premier League, really - there wasn't someone in particular I focused my attention on. I tried to watch as many players as I could and studied their qualities before trying to take the best parts of their game and applying it to my own. I tried to get a mix - there wasn't one specific player that really influenced me. I'm often asked that question but I never idolised one individual. It's important to watch and learn from a number of different players to make you a more rounded footballer.

Were there people at Blackburn you looked up to?
When I was there people like Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen played in defence. Nelsen was a top professional and I always looked up to him. He was instrumental in helping me to succeed at Blackburn, too. Chris was a great lad as well and they both helped me in those early years in my career.

What are your memories of your debuts?
Big Sam [Allardyce] gave me my senior debut and it was a weird week building up to playing against Chelsea. The match was on TV and I was nervous beforehand but we got a point, which was a really good result. I kept a memento... I swapped shirts with John Terry. For United, it was in the 2011 Community Shield when we came back from 2-0 down after half-time against Manchester City and won 3-2. My home debut was a great experience, playing at Old Trafford for the first time as a United player. We beat Tottenham 3-0 in front of a massive crowd for the first home game of the season, that was a great occasion. I wasn't really nervous that time because I'd made a few appearances for United by then, on tour, so I felt quite comfortable.

Which game do you consider to be your best for United?
The one at Bolton in 2011, when we won 5-0 at the Reebok Stadium, would be up there. I set up a couple of goals from right-back that day for Wayne Rooney, who scored a hat-trick, and it was a good game. I really enjoyed it. Also, I'm not sure if it was my best game but I enjoyed playing at the Bernabeu in the Champions League. It was a massive game against Real Madrid and a huge tactical battle playing against some world-class players - including the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a great game.

What has been your personal

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