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 highlight of your career so far?
Scoring my first United goal against Aston Villa will always stay in my mind... scoring in general because I don't do it often! But I've scored against Norwich (League Cup) and Shakhtar Donetsk this season so I'd like to keep that up.

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