A couple of years ago, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic formed the best defensive pairing on the planet. They complemented each other perfectly, with Ferdinand providing the silky touch and Vidic the steely leadership.
The pair has lost effectiveness of late, although they are still top-drawer. Vidic is as good as ever, but the drop-off in quality can be attributed to Ferdinand.
Injuries have slowed him down somewhat which is unfortunate, but it becomes apparent when watching him on the field that he can't turn quite as quickly as he could, nor is he fast enough to deal with the speedier strikers of the game.
Fortunately, United has an effective replacement, and he's ready now.
Phil Jones is more a Vidic than a Ferdinand. He is a tough-tackling leader, but he still possesses many of the qualities that Ferdinand brought to the table. As seen in the Arsenal game, he's comfortable with the ball at his feet, can bring it up right through the middle, has good vision and can easily pick out a teammate.
He's confident, he's healthy, he's hungry and he's a future potential captain for both club and country.