Phil Jones: My MUTV takeover selections
Manchester United defender Phil Jones is taking charge of MUTV this Friday night, by choosing which shows will be broadcast on our television station.
LEGENDS TONIGHT: WES BROWN
Our no.4 never actually played alongside Wes during his United career. In fact, Brown left United in 2011, the same summer Jones signed for the Reds.
However, the 28-year-old revealed he was a big fan of Wes when growing up, and has decided to kick off his MUTV takeover with the former defender’s Legends Tonight interview.
“I’ve picked this show because it would be good to hear what Wes has to say about his career,”Phil explained.
“I didn’t play with Wes at United, but I know him quite well. He’s a good guy and I know players who I’ve played with and they know him very well, and they all speak very highly of him.
“I loved watching Wes when I was younger. He was an all-out defender but he could also play on the ball. He had a great career at United.”
Phil and his United team-mates wrapped up our 20th top-flight triumph with a resounding performance against Villa seven years ago.
It was an unforgettable night for the Reds and the 30-minute highlights were a must for Jones’s schedule.
“That was a special game. In fact, that’s probably the most special game I’ve ever played for United because winning the league was something I’d never dreamed of and something no one can ever take away from you,”he said.
“Knowing I’d played my part in that season and that I’d done something that many players have tried and failed [to do], it was incredible. I remember being in the hotel before the game and thinking ‘there’s no way we’re getting beat’. I just knew, it was weird. I’ve never been so confident going into a game in my life.”
That game is also remembered for one of Old Trafford’s greatest goals, when Robin van Persie rifled home Wayne Rooney’s long-range pass.
“I was right behind the goal, literally about 10 yards behind Wayne,”Jones reflected.
“I remember he looked up and I knew what he was going to do. Wayne loves a little diagonal! He played a perfect ball to Robin, and he has one of the sweetest left foots you’ve ever seen.
“It was a great finish and a great win. The technique is ridiculous. Volleys are difficult, but volleys coming across your body are even more difficult. The way it came across his body and the accuracy and precision he got was incredible.”
LEADERSHIP: SIR ALEX FERGUSON
Phil won’t be the only person keen to watch a documentary about the boss, and he explained what made Sir Alex Ferguson such a special manager.
“He was there for my first two years and he was the one who brought me from Blackburn – I’m forever grateful to him for doing that,” Phil recalled.
“I had offers from other clubs. I could have gone to a host of clubs: [Manchester] City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton. He was the last person I’d spoke to and I remember walking back out with my agent and saying: ‘I want to sign for Man United.’ That was it. We hadn’t even discussed any personal terms, but I knew that was the club I wanted to sign for.
“His understanding of every player [set him apart],” he continued.
“His understanding and level of communications with those players was the best I’ve ever been involved with.
“He understood everyone in terms of: ‘Do I need to give them a rest? Do I need play him? Give him an arm around the shoulder? Do I need to go full hairdryer treatment? Do I need to give him some time off?’
“He knew exactly how to handle every situation. For me, that’s what’s made him the best.
“People should watch the documentary to fully understand what a great man he was and what a wonderful manager he was, and how he adapted himself to deal with different situations on and off the pitch.
“People know he was a wonderful manager – he’s one of the greatest managers ever – but people don’t know what he was like away from the pitch with players’ families. It was very important.”
Another key figure in Phil’s career is Wayne Rooney. The pair shared a dressing room together for six years and, in that time, our no.4 witnessed some pretty special moments from the Reds’ all-time top scorer.
Phil feels like reliving some of those memories again, as he’s selected to watch every single one of Wayne’s 253 United goals.
“He’s a sporting great, not just for Manchester United, but for football itself,”said Jones.
“I think his achievements were overshadowed and under-appreciated a bit.
“I don’t think he got the recognition he should have got considering he was England’s record goalscorer, all the goals he scored for United, and the trophies he won.
“He was unbelievable and when he was doing this for England and United people still questioned him. But I think now people really do appreciate what he did for United and football.
“I had a really good relationship with Wayne,”the centre-back added.“When I first signed he helped me a lot and we became good friends.
“Now, if I’ve got something to speak about, he’s someone who I’d like to think I could pick up the phone and speak to. I’m sure he’s going to go into management as well. He’s a great guy and he’s just a normal, hard-working family guy.”
The 2011/12 season was a big one for Phil – not only was it his first at Old Trafford, but it also included his maiden United goal. For that reason, the defender wants to re-watch every single strike from that campaign.
“I’ve picked all the goals from my first season at United because I scored,”he said with a chuckle.
“It was against Villa. I just remember playing the ball to Nani out wide, him doing a few stepovers, I kept running and he played the ball across, and I just side-foot volleyed it past Shay Given in the net. I remember it clearly.
“I think Rene Meulensteen and the manager had a bit of a joke with me that I couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo. I just pointed over to them and laughed.”
To round things off, the Preston-born stalwart has selected a memorable trip to the Spanish capital, which he has already delved into in greater detail.
PHIL’S MUTV CHOICES IN FULL
18:00 LEGENDS TONIGHT: WES BROWN
19:00 UNITED V ASTON VILLA (2012/13)
19:30 LEADERSHIP: SIR ALEX FERGUSON
20:00 ROONEY: ALL THE GOALS
21:00 2,000 PL GOALS: 2011/12
21:15 REAL MADRID V UNITED (2012/13)
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