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For years, John O'Shea filled a special role in the Manchester United squad.
Blessed with enviable versatility, O'Shea was deployed as a left and right back, as a center back, a defensive mid-fielder, a striker, and even an emergency goal-keeper. While he was never really the best at any of those roles, he filled them adequately, exemplifying the descriptor of "Jack of All Trades, Master of None."
When he was sold during the summer, many fans lamented his loss, as we weren't sure where such versatility would be found again.
Until we looked at the right side of our defense.
In Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, younger versions of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, it is quite possible that we could be seeing England's first choice center-back partnership right here in United.
Both are strong defenders with good footballing minds, blessed with good speed and tough tackling skills. They are perfect fits in United's system, and many believe that they will supplant both Vidic and Ferdinand in the near future.
And yet, both have show that they are capable of playing out wide at right back, with Chris Smalling even establishing himself as England's first choice.
With Smalling rested against Bolton, Jones took his turn at right back and showed that he might be just as good or even better. Playing in the center in previous appearances, Jones had shown himself to be quite comfortable with the ball at his feet.
But against Bolton, he showed a willingness to bomb up the right lane and supply some surprisingly accurate and well-weighted crosses. In fact, he was directly involved in Wayne Rooney's first two goals.
For the first one, he provided a pin-point cross for Rooney to tap in. For the second, he showed off decent dribbling skills to weave into the Bolton area and unleashed a shot that goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen could only divert into the onrushing Rooney's pass.
Throughout the game, Jones played an almost perfect right-back, and it will raise arguments about whether Smalling or Jones will be preferred.
But playing for Blackburn, Jones also showed a side that United fans have yet to see. He is also quite a capable holding mid-fielder, due to his good positioning sense, defensive abilities, and passing vision. If need be, I think we'll see Jones in the midfield before the year is out.
Now if only he can play goalkeeper...