Paul Scholes will forever be known as a United legend. After retiring from football, the Englishman has taken up a punditry job for ITV. Scholes is not widely known as someone who is open to speaking the harsh truth, however speaking prior to today’s international friendly between the Republic of Ireland and England, Scholes uttered a few words that will certainly not go down well in the eyes of United fans.
The 40-year-old said that Manchester United and England defender Phil Jones was “not quite clever enough” to play at centre back. Phil Jones started for England in a right back role, a position many believe is unsuited to his style of play. The game was a dull encounter, ending in a 0-0 draw. Perhaps Scholes’ comments on Jones were the highlight of the game.
“I just think at centre back, when he is playing against clever forwards, he tends to get dragged out of position quite a easily.
“At right back you still need to be clever positionally but I think he can use his pace and power and he hasn’t got a bad delivery either. When he first came to Manchester United he was a right back, he played right back all the time. He has got strength and power and he can get up and down the pitch.
“I just think at centre half he is not quite clever enough to do it.”
Phil Jones is well known for his ability to play in various positions, from centre back to centre midfield. This may seem like an admirable trait to have as a footballer, however in Jones’ case it only seems to have held him back as he has been unable to ever secure a regular first team place.
Although Scholes’ comments are fair, I do think Jones will continue to mature his game in a central role and become an integral figure in United’s defence. Manchester United will look to recruit a new centre back this summer, but I don’t see this putting Jones’ United career in turmoil.