Manchester United defender Phil Jones has revealed what legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson said to him to boost his morale during injury struggles.
The 29 year-old has had a difficult few years, with recurring injuries that have kept his sidelined for lengthy periods. This has drawn criticism from pundits as well as fans.
Jones’ meniscal damage on his right knee has constantly caused trouble for the former England international, leaving him in the “lowest state” he had ever been as human being over the past year.
But in an interview with the Times, Jones explained how a meeting this year with his former boss lifted his spirits.
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Jones said: “He was just unbelievable for me. I went to the premiere of his film with a few players and he came over, we shook hands and then out of the blue he said, ‘Hey, you were f***ing terrific against Real Madrid away [in 2013]. F***ing marking Ronaldo.’
“It just gave me so much confidence.
“To be honest, I didn’t even watch his premiere, I was just sitting there thinking about his comment, thinking, ‘He remembers it . . . someone of his magnitude remembers that.’”
However, Jones also expressed his hurt at former teammate Rio Ferdinand calling him a “waste of time” recently in a podcast, implying he was merely taking up a younger player’s position and collecting a pay-check.
Do you think Jones can reach Man United’s level this season? Let us know in the comments section.
Jones said: “Listen, the respect I’ve got is enormous. I’ve shared a dressing room with Rio — great professional. Loved playing with him.
“Great lad, good humour. Learnt so much off him. But what he said was poor. Really poor.
“I’m not into disputes, not into arguments, and if he didn’t know, he didn’t know… [that Jones was injured].”
The defender is now approaching full fitness with his knee “feeling incredible”, having undergone special surgery last year and completed two 90-minute appearances for United’s under-23s recently.