Jones exclusive: I'm so proud to be Red
Fresh from signing a new contract, Phil Jones speaks passionately about his career so far and future as a Red...
First of all, congratulations on signing the new deal. How does it feel to be staying here for another four or five years? “Yeah, it’s incredible. I’ve been here a long time – eight years now – and created some wonderful friends, seen a lot of players come and go in time, but I’m delighted, of course. It’s been a part of my life for eight years, as I said, and I love the club. I love everything about the club. I know what it takes to be at this club and to win things at this club and I’m thankful for that.” I remember interviewing you when you joined in Seattle in 2011 when I think David De Gea joined at the same time. Does it feel like such a long time for you? There have been some extraordinary ups and downs and everything has happened in that time… “Yeah, like you said, everything has happened. Me, David [De Gea] and Ash [Ashley Young] signed at the same time. It was an incredible feeling that day to walk into the room and the likes of Giggsy, Scholesy and all those kind of players, who you have idolised for so long, you’re suddenly sat in the same room having breakfast with them. You get to play with them and share the same dressing room with them. I suppose when you’re younger you take a lot of things for granted and I think as you get older you slowly start to learn that not everything is for definite in life. I’m very grateful to the club for giving me the chance to progress even further here – to keep learning, keep improving –and I don’t think you ever stop improving. I’m looking forward to what hopefully is going to be an exciting future.” Is it possible to sum up your time here so far? There have been so many ups and downs, you’ve played under the greatest ever manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, we’ve been through managers since, you’ve won the Premier League and other trophies too. It’s been an amazing journey, hasn’t it? “It’s been a whirlwind. When I look back, like you said, I’ve won things and I’ve played in finals. Since I’ve been at United, I’ve been to two World Cups, I’ve been to a Euros [European Championship], I’ve played in the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup. All of these things you take for granted but, when you look at it, for example today when you sign the contract, you take a step back and you’re proud of what you’ve done. People can never take that away from you. When you was younger, if you would have said that I would have done all of those things, I would never have believed it. I’ve got a wonderful family, friends, a wonderful little girl – everything has just slotted nicely into place.” You’re only 26 but you’re probably an elder statesman in terms of your Manchester United career because you’ve been here for so long – eight years – and it’s going to go beyond a decade… “Yes, it’s a great feeling. Like I said, it’s something I’ve always wanted. I always knew that this was the club when they came knocking that I wanted to sign for. The history that this club has had over the years, it’s exciting. It’s where players want to be and I’m thankful and grateful to be here and sign a four-year contract.” What else do you want to achieve here? What are your ambitions? “I want to win things. I think anyone will tell you when they walk through this door they want to win things. This club is always used to winning things. In previous interviews, I’ve always said that we have no given right to win things just because of the history of the club, but it’s where we want to be, it’s what we want to do and achieve. I definitely think we’re heading in the right direction now. For a while, it was up, it was down, it was down, it was up but I think the squad we’ve got here is more than capable of doing great things. With the manager [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] coming in, he’s done a wonderful job – he’s been great for me. You’ve got Mike [Phelan] who has also come in who has been a fantastic addition because he knows the club inside out. He’s seen first hand under Sir Alex Ferguson what it takes to win things and I think we’ve got a nice perfect balance.” So, from your point of view, everything is set for a successful spell? “Yes, I think we’ve got no excuses. I think we’ve not got any excuses not to achieve good things. Like I said, the team has a wonderful team spirit about them at the moment. We’re all such a tight group, we get along great, it’s a great environment to be in. Driving in today, it’s a great feeling to come in and train with the lads – it’s exciting times at United.” If I was to get you to choose one highlight from your eight years at the club so far, what would it be? “It would have to be [winning] the Premier League [in 2013]. We should have won it in my first season [2011/12] but we all know what happened there! But to win that in the second season was a dream come true. No-one could ever have predicted that when I was younger I would go on to play for Manchester United – THE best club in the world – and win the Premier League with the players we had, under the great manager as well, was something that was extraordinary.”