by Teo Teng Kiat
Yesterday night, at the Herning Stadion in Denmark, observers of the 2011 UEFA Under-21 Championship Group B clash between England and Spain had a glimpse of the possible future central defence pairing of the senior national team, and that of Manchester United.
Chris Smalling had a superb game, which eventually finished 1-1, and was arguably the man-of-the-match. Alongside him was his soon-to-be colleague, as United confirmed the capture of Phil Jones from Blackburn a few hours ago, on a 5-year contract in a deal worth a reported £16.5 million, which could rise up to £20 million after further add-ons and incentives
The 19-year old proclaimed on his own Twitter account that joining United was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and that he was “looking forward to a new challenge.” Hailed as the next John Terry, the highly-regarded starlet had attracted interest from Liverpool and Arsenal, but apparently only had eyes for United, which has doubtlessly already made him a bit of a hero with the fans. Wayne Rooney is one player who has given his approval, saying that Jones was “one of the toughest defenders I played against last season.”
I have to say that I wasn’t expecting us to sign a centreback, given that our midfield is the area that needs shoring up in my opinion, but I do think that Jones will prove to be a good player for us. I don’t watch many Blackburn games, but I was hugely impressed by his performance at Ewood Park where we clinched the title last season. He held his own against Hernandez and Rooney, and showed good strength and a willingness to put his body on the line. If Smalling is the natural heir to Ferdinand, then Jones could very well be the Vidic-like foil. He is also capable of filling in the middle of the park when required, in a defensive midfield position, as well as at right-back.
With this deal, Jones has become the first official transfer this summer for United, and hopefully there will be a couple more to come. Who do you want to see next at Old Trafford?
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