Phil Jones Tells David Moyes He Wants to Be a Centre-Back at Manchester United

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26:  Phil Jones of Manchester United competes with Kevin De Bruyne of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on August 26, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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Phil Jones has reiterated his desire to become a first-choice centre-back at Manchester United.

The versatile Englishman—who has long been used across the defence and midfield for the Red Devils—is pleased with his recent stint in the heart of the Premier League champions’ defence, as reported by Neil Custis of The Sun (subscription required) and via Sky Sports:

I'm happy with my own form. I'm pleased to be getting a bit of a run at centre-half.

It's always nice to play in the position you feel most comfortable in. I played in midfield against Norwich in the Capital One Cup, but mostly it has been centre-back and that's where I want to be.

When I came, it was always the plan to establish myself as a centre-back and I hope to do it this season. If the manager keeps faith in me, I'll make sure I can cement a spot there and get a good run there.

Jones’ ability to play almost anywhere was called upon during United’s recent victory over Arsenal.

David Moyes watched on as his player's physicality and turn of pace dominated in midfield, before Jones was forced into a centre-back role after Nemanja Vidic’s horror clash with David de Gea’s knee saw him depart at half-time.

The 21-year-old’s adaptability harks back to the days of John O’Shea, who spent his entire Old Trafford career filling in for others.

Jones regularly speaks of his desire to become a world-class centre-back, as noted in this Sky Sports report from July, and should see his craving satisfied more regularly over the next couple of years.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25:  Phil Jones of Manchester United competes with Raheem Sterling of Liverpool during the Capital One Cup Third Round match betwen Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on September 25, 2013 in Manchester, Englan
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Vidic’s legendary partnership with Rio Ferdinand is no more, as both players succumb to the pitfalls of age. While the Serbian captain has played well this season, Ferdinand’s sudden loss of form has been dramatic.

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Ferdinand’s 2012-13 display as the player’s best ever, reported by BBC Sport. The former Leeds United defender looks to have lost a yard of pace this year and has become increasingly sloppy on the ball, often inviting pressure on United with an aimless long pass up the pitch.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 11:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Rio Ferdinand (R) during the UEFA Champions League Round of Sixteen, Second Leg match between Manchester United and Inter Milan a
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Such occurrences could see Jones receive a run of games in his favoured position.

While the youngster has plenty of room for development, United will be hard pushed to find a more dedicated and physically assertive powerhouse among their ranks, as summed up by Jones' ability to effectively man-mark Marouane Fellaini and Cristiano Ronaldo out of clashes with Everton and Real Madrid last season.

He is likely to continue flitting between defensive and midfield appearances this campaign, certainly until Moyes can strengthen United's centre in January, but it shouldn't be long until Jones is given an extended opportunity to lead from the back.