Manchester United: What Is Phil Jones' Best Position?

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Manchester United:  What Is Phil Jones' Best Position?
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It's not just David Moyes who'll be carefully monitoring the transfer market in the last five days of the summer window.

Phil Jones has reason to watch developments too, knowing that any new arrivals are likely to decide where he plays this season.

The 21-year-old is a manager's dream. 

Moyes has already discovered the advantages of having the former Blackburn man in his squad, starting him as a centre-half in the Community Shield at Wembley, then shifting him to right-back after Rafael had hobbled off with a hamstring injury.

Ask Jones what his best position is, a question he's asked frequently in interviews, and he'll tell you it's as a centre-back. But he has often been a victim of his own versatility.

He's looked comfortable as Rafael's replacement at right-back in games against Swansea and Chelsea. And he's likely to continue until the Brazilian returns, probably in about three weeks.

What is Phil Jones' best position?

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But if Moyes can't bring in the midfield reinforcements he wants before Monday's deadline, Jones could be pressed into duty there.

It's something he's done before to good effect, man-marking Marouane Fellaini when Everton visited Old Trafford last season and playing in a midfield three alongside Michael Carrick and Shinji Kagawa against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

He would have played in the second leg as well had he not injured himself in an FA Cup tie with Reading, incidentally playing at right-back.

He has faced the same thing at international level. In winning eight caps he has only played at centre-half for his country once, and even that was the final six minutes of the win over Scotland after coming off the bench to replace Phil Jagielka. 

His performances at right-back this season might have convinced Moyes that Jones, rather than Rafael, is his first-choice this season.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

They have different qualities, Rafael is quicker and offers more of an attacking threat, but Jones is a better defender and is far more physical. And, perhaps more importantly, he's the one in possession of the shirt.

But if Moyes can't bring in another midfielder, and once Rafael is fit again, Jones' best chance of regular football could well be in midfield. 

Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling offer cover at centre-half, but United are short in midfield with just Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Anderson.

Jones will be watching the front door at Carrington closely in the coming days, as it's likely to decide what job Jones the utility man is given this season.

It's not just David Moyes who'll be carefully monitoring the transfer market in the last five days of the summer window.

Phil Jones has reason to watch developments too, knowing that any new arrivals are likely to decide where he plays this season.

The 21-year-old is a manager's dream. 

Moyes has already discovered the advantages of having the former Blackburn man in his squad, starting him as a centre-half in the Community Shield at Wembley then shifting him to right-back once Rafael had hobbled off with a hamstring injury.

Ask Jones what his best position is, a question he's asked frequently in interviews, and he'll tell you it's as a centre back. But he has often been a victim of his own versatility.

He's looked comfortable as Rafael's replacement at right-back in games against Swansea and Chelsea. And he's likely to continue until the Brazilian returns, probably in about three weeks.

But if Moyes can't bring in the midfield reinforcements he wants before Monday's deadline, Jones could be pressed into duty there.

It's something he's done before to good effect, man-marking Marouane Fellaini when Everton visited Old Trafford last season and playing in a midfield three alongside Michael Carrick and Shinji Kagawa against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu.

He would have played in the second leg as well had he not injured himself in an FA Cup tie with Reading, incidentally playing at right-back.

He has faced the same thing at international level. In winning eight caps he has only played at centre-half for his country once, and even that was the final six minutes of the win over Scotland after coming off the bench to replace Phil Jagielka. 

His performances at right-back this season might have convinced Moyes that Jones, rather than Rafael, is his first-choice this season.

They have different qualities, Rafael is quicker and offers more of an attacking threat but Jones is a better defender and is far more physical. And, perhaps more importantly, he's the one in possession of the shirt.

But if Moyes can't bring in another midfielder, and once Rafael is fit again, Jones' best chance of regular football could well be in midfield. 

Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling offer cover at centre-half but United are short in midfield with just Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Anderson.

Jones will be watching the front door at Carrington closely in the coming days. It's likely to decide what job Jones the utility man is given this season.

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