Jones: Playing at the Bernabeu was incredible
In nine years as a Manchester United player, there’s not much Phil Jones hasn’t experienced.
The defender is a proud owner of winners’ medals from five different competitions, has made over 200 first-team appearances and can even boast of playing central midfield in the Bernabeu.
However, one thing Phil has never tried his hand at is helping to run our various club media platforms.
Well, the 28-year-old has agreed to assist with MUTV’s scheduling and has picked six great shows to be broadcast on Friday night, as part of a specially curated takeover.
The full list will be announced a few hours before they’re shown on MUTV, but we can reveal one of Phil’s selection includes his fine performance in United’s 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in the Champions League in February 2013, when the Reds were first reunited with Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It was a really big game for me. Playing against Madrid, in the Bernabeu.,” Jones reflected on that Champions League last-16, first-leg tie, in February 2013.
“I played centre-midfield alongside Michael Carrick. There was a lot of hype about Ronaldo in that game, but we limited him to a few chances and we got a good 1-1 result at the Bernabeu, before we lost in the home leg [and were eliminated].
“It was incredible: the stadium, the atmosphere. It was a mad game and one that flashes by at the time. You only really take note of it a few years down the line.
“I think I got back the day after and the next night I had a catch up with my mates and they’re saying ‘you played in the Bernabeu last night, against Ronaldo’. But when you’re that young, you just take it all in your stride and take it all for granted. It’s only when you look back and think ‘wow, what an occasion’.”
While the thought of Phil playing in the heart of midfield seems unusual now, the former Blackburn Rovers man explained that, earlier in his career, he was often deployed in a more offensive role.
“At the time, centre-midfield probably was my natural position because I played in midfield a lot more than I did at centre-back,”he recalled.
“I used to get asked repeatedly what my favourite position was and where was I going to end up. I was young, at the time, and said ‘my position will find me’. But I loved playing in midfield with Carras - I played with him loads of times and got to grips with the position.”
“Xabi Alonso is one of the best passers you’ve ever seen and that was difficult,”he said.
“I had Carras in there alongside me and, for me, he was massively under-rated. His passing and vision were a joke. It was my job basically to get the ball to him, to get us playing and that’s exactly what we did.”
Cristiano's 10 best strikes for UnitedVideo
Alonso wasn’t the only formidable figure in the opposition line-up seven years ago, but Jones said even the prospect of playing against one of football’s all-time greatest players didn’t faze him.
“Yeah, it’s Ronaldo, and he’s such an iconic figure and he’s done so much for the sport, but you’re that young, you don’t care. You don’t care who he is and what he's done.
“You just go out to win a game of football, no matter who you’re up against. That’s always how I’ve looked at football. I don’t care who I’m up against. We’re just human beings and it’s just a game of football.”
You can watch the full 90 minutes of that memorable match on MUTV this Friday night, and keep an eye out to see which other five shows Phil has chosen to be broadcast on the channel, including highlights from another landmark game, a classic documentary on one highly important figure in his United career, plus other programmes from the MUTV archive.
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