There should be a degree of sympathy whenever Phil Jones is part of the conversation. Yes, he earns top wages for a player who rarely plays, but anything that could go wrong for the Manchester United defender has tended to do just that.
Phil Jones is continuing to work his way out of a difficult period on the sidelines with injuries, with the most serious being a long-term knee problem. It’s a relief to see him back playing games for the U23s or behind-closed-doors. At least the centre-back is now nearing a full recovery.
The defender recently sat down with United to record a podcast episode to discuss the unfortunate injury process, his determination to overcome the set-backs and how he is feeling now as he works towards a return for the first-team.
“I’m feeling good at the minute,” Jones said during a forthcoming episode of the UTD Podcast.
“Obviously, I’ve been through hell and back over the last couple of years. I struggled with my knee a little bit and [there] came a point after lockdown where I thought enough was enough.
“I kept myself in great shape over lockdown and came back. But I remember just training out here [Carrington] and going into the doc and saying ‘enough’s enough’. Unfortunately, there was going to be time off the pitch, which I knew was going to be difficult for me, but it was something that I had to do.
“Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel now, and I’ve been back training, played a few behind-closed-doors games and I’m feeling really good at the minute. It’s so good to be back out training with the lads and enjoying being a footballer again because for the last 15 months, it’s been all ‘daddy daycare’ and not much football.”
It has been 20 months since Jones last made a competitive appearance for the Reds, but he did play his first 90 minutes for the U23s last weekend against Arsenal as well as another full game today against Brighton in Premier League 2.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 18, 2021
Jones also touched on the struggles of not playing football when you’re a professional footballer.
“[It’s been] tough. I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that’s the lowest I probably ever felt in my life,” he added.
“You try and get a balance between football and family life but it was so difficult going home and trying to look after the kids. You’re there, but you’re not there, you’re not present. It’s nice to get that balance back.
“I think at first, I’ll be brutally honest, I found it really tough to watch football, just in general because you can’t do anything about it. You’re stuck, you’re off your feet. Coming into the training ground every day, it’s hard to get going because you’re going to be out for so long and I knew that getting the operation.
“But thankfully, I have a good team around me, family, friends, and I got through it.”