Phil Jones copped criticism from Rio Ferdinand recently after he penned a new Man Utd deal whilst battling constant injury problems but has opened up on his difficult journey back
Phil Jones has opened up on his injury hell as he edges towards a Manchester United return.
The defender has been hampered by injuries over the past two seasons, making just eight appearances.
Jones has spent a decade at Old Trafford having been signed with lofty expectations.
His contract had been winding down but he was recently handed an extension, keeping him in Manchester until 2023 – a move that was criticised by Rio Ferdinand.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a host of options at the back, but Jones is hopeful of forcing his way into the first team picture.
It has been a slow and dark road back with the 29-year-old confessing he hit his lowest point.
He told United’s official club podcast : “[It’s been] tough. I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that’s the lowest I probably ever felt in my life.
“You try and get a balance between football and family life but it was so difficult going home and trying to look after the kids. You’re there, but you’re not there, you’re not present. It’s nice to get that balance back.
“I think at first, I’ll be brutally honest, I found it really tough to watch football, just in general because you can’t do anything about it. You’re stuck, you’re off your feet.
“Coming into the training ground every day, it’s hard to get going because you’re going to be out for so long and I knew that getting the operation.
“But thankfully, I have a good team around me, family, friends, and I got through it.”
It comes after Rio Ferdinand questioned United’s decision to offer Jones a new deal.
Solskjaer has continued to offer youth a chance and the former Red Devil felt the injury prone defender was hampering those plans and suggested his time should’ve been up several years ago.
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“He’s taking up a youth team player’s position in that squad right now,” Ferdinand told his Vibe with FIVE YouTube channel.
Ferdinand also added: “I think he should’ve gone ages ago. He should’ve gone before Chris Smalling went. Find a new club and play some football.
“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.”
Ferdinand did backtrack on his comments, insisting he wasn’t aware how bad his injury problems had got.
He said: “Knowing what that does to you from a mental point of view, I hold my hands up and I apologise.”
Raphael Varane was signed in the summer and bolsters a defence that includes Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof.
Jones though has spoken confidently about his return.
“I kept myself in great shape over lockdown and came back. But I remember just training out here [Carrington] and going into the doc and saying ‘enough’s enough’,” he added.
“Unfortunately, there was going to be time off the pitch, which I knew was going to be difficult for me, but it was something that I had to do.
“Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel now, and I’ve been back training, played a few behind-closed-doors games and I’m feeling really good at the minute.