Phil Jones does not learn from his mistakes and has not reached his potential at Manchester United

Related imageSir Alex Ferguson once said the defender could become Manchester United’s ‘best ever player’ but Big Sam, who gave him his Blackburn debut at the age of 18, is disappointed he hasn’t progressed further


Sam Allardyce says Phil Jones has not fulfilled his potential at Manchester United, and says the England defender has not learned from his mistakes.

Jones scored a comical own goal as United suffered a 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday to continue an unwanted strike record.

And Big Sam is disappointed he has never fulfilled the promise he showed during his impressive emergence at Blackburn.

Big Sam was in charge at Ewood Park when Jones made his Premier League debut aged 18. He earned huge praise for his performances in a Rovers shirt and after just two seasons in the first-team he was signed by Man United in a £16m deal in 2011.

While dogged by persistent injury troubles, he enjoyed early success at Old Trafford, with Sir Alex Ferguson saying Jones – then aged 21 – could go on to be Manchester United’s ‘best ever player’.

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Rewinding to 2013, after guiding United to their 20th league title, Fergie said:

“Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player. I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, not matter where we play him. At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch. He has such a massive influence, with his instinct and reading of the game. He has a drive about him.”

But fast-forward to the present, Jones is now little more than a squad player in the United ranks and has a reputation for calamity.

And for good reason – when he put the ball into his own net on Wednesday night, Jones became the first United player to score an own goal in the Champions League since… himself, in 2011.

His strike record also makes for amusing reading – Jones has scored two goals for United and two against them in the Premier League, and has the very same record in the Champions League.


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Asked about the 26-year-old on Thursday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Allardyce said: “He made his debut with me against Chelsea, he came on and won man-of-the-match marking Didier Drogba. We drew 1-1.

“He certainly looked the business at 18 years old.

“Certainly injuries have hampered him a huge amount, but he should have gone a lot further.

“He’s playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, its was obviously a massive move for him.

“He could have had the choice between Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, you name it, all those clubs were in for him but he chose Man United and I thought it was a great choice under Sir Alex.

“Sir Alex said to me in his [Jones’] early days at United, ‘wow, Sam, I’ve got a great player here’.

“But it hasn’t quite worked out for him.

“I think sometimes he hasn’t quite learned from his experiences, he’s still got that edginess, that diving in type of attitude when he should leave it alone.

“I’m slightly disappointed he hasn’t been as big as I expected him to be.

“I expected him to be in the England side on a regular basis to lead England into European Championships and World Cups on the form he showed at Blackburn when I had him.”

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