Reds unite to wish Jones all the best
A fantastic player for the football club who has always been a positive influence in the dressing room, despite cruel luck with injury in recent years.
That’s how the Manchester United squad have described Phil Jones, who will leave Old Trafford in the summer after 12 years and 229 games of service.
In an open letter shared by the former England centre-back on Friday morning, Jones described his time with United as ‘incredible’, thanking everyone at the club where ‘he’s made friends for life’.
We asked some of those friends – his team-mates – to summarise Phil’s influence over the years and received some very kind words and wishes in return.
Read some of the best below, but first let’s hear from the man who brought Phil to M16 back in 2011...
‘You’ll be missed, Phil’
United’s players explain why Jones was such a character in the dressing room, with a little help from Sir Alex Ferguson…
SIR ALEX FERGUSON
“I just want to thank you for the great service that you’ve given our club for 12 years. I signed you as a young boy from Blackburn Rovers and you’ve done the club a fantastic service. I wish you good luck and thank you for all your great work for the club. All the best.”
“I think he’s a really good person. He’s someone who has been through so many things during the years he was at the club and during the years he was playing football and to have the capacity to be the way he was – the calmness, the great guy he is, even during this tough period for him – I think he’s a person who deserves the respect of the United fans and the respect from football fans globally.”
“I’ve been fortunate enough to know him for quite some time and coming back to the football club I’ve spent quite some time with him inside the building, so he’s a great character around the place. It’s been difficult for him of late with a few injuries but that shouldn’t take away from all he’s brought to the football club and all he’s achieved. When you leave somewhere you’ve been for such a long time, it can be a challenge, but everyone in the entire building will wish him all the best and support him with whatever he does next. We look forward to hearing about it.”
Phil’s goodbye to Old TraffordGallery
See what happened when Phil Jones stepped on to home turf for one last time, accompanied by his family.
“I have a lot of memories with Phil, obviously. I’ve shared a dressing room with him for six years now and he’s always a positive guy and he’s always coming in wanting to work hard. He’s always been a big part of the dressing room and he likes to joke with the players and have a good time. So of course we’re going to miss him in the dressing room. He’s been struggling with his injuries but his mentality is great. He’ll come in every day and try to get better. To get another setback and then to go again just shows his mentality and how strong he is. It’s been hard on him with the injuries but he’s always trying to recover and get his fitness back.”
Jones's open letter to United fansArticle
Our long-serving defender shares a heartfelt message as he prepares to leave the club.
“Phil’s been a great player for the club, a great servant. He’s played a lot of big games and won trophies. He’ll be missed. The lads know how much Phil brings to the team, we know how good he is around the place. He’s professional, he’s always in the gym, he drives the team and he drives the standards in training, so he’s a true professional and we’ll miss him. “When you speak to Phil, he’s a big fan. He’s been here so many years and the club means so much to him. I think you’ve seen that in one of his recent starts, last year against Wolves, and how much it meant to him coming off the pitch. Injuries have been cruel to him and I know people say it’s part of football, but it’s unfortunate for Phil. He’s done everything he can to be back on the pitch. I’ve seen him so much in the gym, I’ve seen the shape that he’s in. He’s given everything a go, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I don’t know what his next steps are, but we wish him well for the future.”
“He’s been such a good servant for the football club. When I came into the first team, he was one of the lads who I went to for advice and he helped me with different things. We’ve had such a great laugh as well. People often don’t see that off the pitch, but he’s such a great lad and whatever he goes on to do in the future, we wish him well.”
Jones to leave UnitedArticle
Defender Phil Jones is saying goodbye to Old Trafford after 12 years with the club.
“In the beginning, he wasn’t very helpful – he was always kicking me in training! [laughs] No, he’s a great person. He’s always talking to you and giving you advice and when you come into a new dressing room at such a big club it’s important to have those people in the dressing room. People like him are the reason we have so many young players coming through into the first team.
“It’s hard. He’s mentally so strong because being unavailable in football is the worst feeling. You want to be available for every game. For someone like Jonah, he’s just been very unlucky towards the end, but whenever he’s come in and played… there was a period of three or four games where he played and he was our best player every game, so he’s 100 per cent committed to the shirt and the badge and he has been since he’s been here. It’s just unlucky and unfortunate that he’s picked up the injuries that he has. For me, I just want to wish him all the best.”