Jones deserves so much respect for his UTD Podcast
The new episode of UTD Podcast with Phil Jones is a powerful reminder that footballers are just human beings with thoughts and feelings, who do not deserve the personal and often unfair criticism that can be directed their way.
Jones has not made a competitive first-team appearance since January 2020 due to a persistent knee problem that required surgery. During his ongoing rehabilitation, the title winner has received abuse in the street and online that has affected his home life with a young family to care for.
In his compelling UTD Podcast, available now via our app, Phil candidly explains how he has handled the situation and thankfully admits he can see light at the end of the tunnel in terms of his injury, having recently made a series of appearances in behind-closed-doors games and Under-23 fixtures.
“He's had a rollercoaster of a time, he really has,” says former striker Danny Webber in The Debate. “He got billed as a big deal when he arrived, Sir Alex endorsed him, and to be honest he has just not had the rub of the green. He's had rough injuries and he said he's had a tough time.
“That doesn't get taken into account with today's football fan, unfortunately. Everybody is quick to respond and quick to judge, but he is a human being. He has got thoughts, he has got feelings, he has got a family and he has got a lot of stick.
“But he has good surroundings here, he has got good people around him and I am not surprised he just keeps himself to himself, focusing on getting himself back to his best.”
Treble winner Wes Brown went through his own injury troubles throughout his distinguished career at Old Trafford and he is keen for supporters to understand just how difficult it can be for a player.
“It's a fine line,” says Wes in The Debate. “When you get injured, you want to come back and sometimes you come back a little bit early, because you want to get back on that pitch.
“If you are out for a long period of time, it is difficult and when you feel like you are ready, and maybe you are not, you push yourself harder just to get back and then you have another setback, it can be very hard and mentally as well. We all know how Phil Jones can play and we all know what he can do. Hopefully he has had enough time now and he is fit, if needed for selection. It's a tough time and it is mentally difficult, so you have to give him all of the respect.”
Ben Thornley was famously one of the most talented members of our Class of ’92 and looked set for the very top, until a cruel injury completely changed the course of his football career. As such, he has a unique perspective on Jones and is backing the defender to get back to his best.
“You do always have doubts and especially if you have been out for such a long time,” says Ben. “It affects you in so many different ways: you start doubting your own ability, your own mental strength and that is why we do have to respect what has gone on for him over the last couple of years.
“And we have to give him all of the help and support that he needs, like every fan should for Manchester United, to make sure that he gets back on that trail. No matter what happens with Phil Jones in his football career down the line, whether it is for Manchester United or somewhere else, you can't disregard the journey that he's been on and I want to wish him all the best for it.”
Listen to our UTD Podcast with Phil Jones in the United App.