Stoke City assistant manager Mark Bowen has revealed that the Potters are interested in signing Manchester United’s Phil Jones, however, the player in question is happy at the Theatre of Dreams according to The Guardian. The Reds defender has failed to live up to the hype that got him his move to Old Trafford from Blackburn Rovers in 2011 and has not been included in either of Jose Mourinho’s first two Premier League matches. Stoke, on the other hand, are desperate for defensive reinforcements having already shipped five goals in their opening couples of league games. Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, Bowen said:
“I remember Sam Allardyce talking about him when he broke through and said he was the new Duncan Edwards.
“He did well as a youngster, got the big move, but it hasn’t worked out for him there. I don’t know how close we are or how far down the line it’s gone.
“He’s played the majority of his career at centre-half, but in his younger days he went into midfield as well.”
The Potters finished a respectable ninth in the Premier League last term, however, shipped the most goals in the top half (55) and only the bottom five teams – Bournemouth, Sunderland, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Aston Villa – conceded more than Mark Hughes’ side. As well as struggling to keep the goals out, Stoke also found scoring hard to come by last season. They only scored 41 times, the least than any side in the top ten, even relegated Newcastle scored more (44).
“I don’t know what’s gone wrong, but he’s gone from even a player Fergie [Alex Ferguson] was talking about as being someone who could have been one of the greats.
“But we have a bit of reputation for bringing players like that into this set-up and then thriving. Fingers crossed, something may happen.”
Assistant manager Bowen touched on the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson talked up Jones to become one of the greats as a youngster. Speaking after United’s title-clinching 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in 2013, Ferguson tipped Jones to be one of the best players to have ever played for Manchester United. No, seriously.
“Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player. I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, not matter where we play him. At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch.”
To say Jones hasn’t fulfilled his potential would be an understatement however he is only 24 and could yet have a career at the top. The problem with the former Blackburn man is that he can’t keep fit enough to sustain a good run in the first team. To say he’s not even halfway through his twenties, he’s spent a staggering amount of time on the treatment table. He only made 10 appearances in the league last term, mainly down to injuries but when he was fit, it was hard to make a case for him to be starting ahead of either one of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind who formed an unlikely but solid partnership. If you factor in the addition of Eric Bailly – who has impressed during his short time in Manchester – Jones could be considered United’s fourth-choice centre-back. Personally, I think it’s time for Jones to move on from Manchester United and begin a new chapter in his career away from the spotlight that is Old Trafford.