When Sir Alex Ferguson publicly labels a player as potentially Manchester United's all-time greatest, they are a very special case indeed.
But while the scale of such praise must have surprised even Phil Jones, the young England international was hardly a stranger to platitudes, having been likened to Reds great Duncan Edwards by club legend Sir Bobby Charlton.
From the moment Jones broke into Blackburn Rovers' Premier League team in March 2010, it soon became clear they had an exceptional young talent on their hands.
An eye-catching debut against Chelsea brought inevitable comparisons with Blues skipper John Terry, as the robust stopper swiftly handled the elevation in class and dealt admirably with some of the biggest names in the country.
Wayne Rooney was quick to admit Jones was one of his toughest opponents in 2010/11, and his performances against the Reds in consecutive seasons certainly revealed he is a player who loves the art of defending under pressure. Sir Alex noted Jones' determination at Old Trafford, haranguing his older