Rio Ferdinand believes Phil Jones is blocking a Manchester United academy player from being part of the first team and has urged the 29-year-old to leave Old Trafford.
Jones made his comeback from injury in United’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Burnley last week after being sidelined with a knee injury since January 2020.
The defender has taken part in pre-season training this summer and is targeting a return to the first team, although his chances of securing a regular role are slim following the arrival of Raphael Varane earlier this month.
And Ferdinand believes Jones’ exit is long overdue and feels the centre-back should have been offloaded before Chris Smalling joined Roma in 2019.
Ferdinand also criticised United’s hierarchy for handing Jones a four-year contract extension in 2019, which keeps him tied to Old Trafford until 2023.
‘He’s taking up a youth team player’s position in that squad right now,’ Ferdinand told Vibe with FIVE.
‘He’s had too many injuries… I was in the same team as Phil Jones, he came from Blackburn as a young kid, everyone was saying he was going to be this great player.
‘Huge potential but injuries have absolutely annihilated his career and then confidence issues at certain times as well.
‘He’s never been able to fully establish himself in the team. Whether it’s injuries, lack of form, lack of confidence.
‘I think he should’ve gone ages ago. He should’ve gone before Chris Smalling went. Find a new club and play some football.
‘He’s lacked consistency throughout his career at Man United. That’s a fact, for all the reasons I stated before.
‘I am baffled at how he’s still been given a new deal at the club given his past few years at the club. It just doesn’t make sense to me how you get a new deal.
‘I remember back in the day you’d have to do some absolute graft to get a new deal. You’d have to be putting in performances, you’d have to be a vital member of the team. Phil Jones isn’t that.
‘He’s done well. Listen, good luck to him if you can get it. Staying at Man United is a great gig, but I look at him as a person, are you really going to be happy sitting there all these years.
‘I think [Danny] Drinkwater has been the same a little bit [at Chelsea]. It’s quite easy to sit there a little bit, hide behind the curtains.
‘To be fair to Phil Jones, I’ve not seen him come out and speak and clarify, he might have had injuries we don’t know about. But if he’s been fit and has been sitting there like he has been, sign a new deal and stay and not go out on loan… that’s not what a footballer wants to do.
‘There are players who are happy to just sit and clubs and not play and just chill. Winston Bogarde did it at Chelsea for about three or four years. Signed a big deal and commuted in from Holland.
‘If I was in the squad with someone like that I wouldn’t talk to them. They are a waste of time, why would I chat to you and give you any energy, taking that away from my other teammates who are here to play and go into battle for 90 minutes every week.’
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