Phil Jones was left visibly emotional after walking off following his surprise start for Manchester United in their defeat against Wolves earlier this week.
Centre back Jones lined up from the off for his club for the first time in 708 days after being named in the starting XI, and impressed at Old Trafford.
Having made several clearances and delivered an assured showing, he was treated to a warm response from supporters while heading down the tunnel at full-time.
A milestone that’s been 712 days in the making.
It meant so much to Phil ❤️#MUFC pic.twitter.com/Kd7H7fyedE
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 4, 2022
And a video posted on United’s official Twitter account has revealed how the defender was seemingly overwhelmed by his comeback.
With his head initially bowed, Jones headed off the field in the corner of the stadium, but acknowledged the appreciation sent his way by clapping the crowd.
Before featuring against Wolves, Jones last started a match in United’s 6-1 win over Tranmere in the FA Cup in January 2020, having sustained a long-term knee injury.
After being ruled out for almost two years, the former Blackburn man described his time out as the ‘lowest of his life’, and built up his fitness behind closed doors.
Rio Ferdinand, a former United stalwart, heaped praise on Jones’ recent showing.
‘For someone to come in from the cold like that, you have to tip your hat to someone like that,’ Ferdinand said on Five, his official YouTube channel.
‘They’re playing him maybe to put him in the shop window, first and foremost, but if he plays well enough the manager might change his mind. That can happen in football very quickly.
I’m just pleased he got through the game unscathed, no injuries. He put in a decent performance after such a long time out, not easy to do. So you’ve got to tilt your hat to Phil Jones.
‘He’s come in for a lot of stick, a lot of my words have been misinterpreted a little bit.
‘But you’ve got to say, “well done” in terms of the amount of time he’s been off the pitch, to come in and play in the Premier League and play at the standard he did today.
Glazers make stance clear to Ralf Rangnick amid Man Utd dressing room crisis
Manchester United are facing a dressing room crisis – but the January transfer window means changes could be afoot.
The Mirror understands that up to 11 players are keen to leave United having grown disillusioned with life at the club.
A source said: “It’s not good. The atmosphere is really bad and it looks like there are going to be big problems ahead for United.”
Despite the difficulties being faced, owners the Glazers are believed to have made their stance clear to Rangnick – by telling him he will have funds available.
Whilst all eyes are on potential outgoings at Old Trafford in January, The Times report that Rangnick has been told by the club that if he wishes to make signings, he will be backed.
With Rangnick’s deal with United including an additional two years in a consultancy role, his first transfer window could give an intriguing insight into his long-term plans.
RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara could be the first in the door in a £33million swoop with Rangnick already entering talks with his representatives last month.
A move for the Mali international, who has a buyout clause that could be activated in the summer, would signal United’s intent to back Rangnick.
Various other players have been linked with a move to Old Trafford, whilst funds could be bolstered by high-profile exits.
Rangnick is understood to be happy to let Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard leave the club if acceptable offers are received, although he is keen to keep Donny van de Beek and Dean Henderson at the club.
Young defender Axel Tuanzebe, meanwhile, is closing on in a loan move to Napoli which will net the Red Devils a further transfer windfall.
According to the Daily Mail, the Serie A club have agreed to pay United a £500,000 loan fee, as well as a further £333,000 if they reach the Champions League.
A further payment of £165,000 could also be paid if Tuanzebe makes a certain amount of appearances having cut short his stint at Aston Villa to head to Italy.
Juan Mata and Phil Jones are two more players who could depart to make Rangnick’s squad more manageable.
Jones’ successful return against Wolves after almost two years out of the line-up will help his chances of finding a new club in January after his injury nightmare.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s intention for dinner with Lionel Messi has been watched over 50 MILLION
The clip of Cristiano Ronaldo’s intention to have dinner with fierce long-time rival Lionel Messi has been watched more than 50 million times.
Manchester United star Ronaldo, who was spearheading Juventus’ attack at the time, joked he hopes one day he can sit down and enjoy dinner with Messi.
‘I was curious because we shared this stage for 15 years me and him,’ Ronaldo said.
‘I don’t know if that has ever happened in football, the same two guys on the stage at the same time, so it’s not easy.
‘Of course we have a good relationship, we have not had dinner together yet but I hope in the future.’
Both Messi and Ronaldo had five Ballon d’Ors to their names when seen in deep conversation in France in 2019.
The Argentine star is now two ahead of the Portuguese after making history by winning his seventh gong last month.
Ronaldo and Messi were sat next to each other as both were nominated for the UEFA Player of the Season, alongside eventual winner Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
The pair could be reunited at the Best FIFA Men’s Player award on January 17 as they’re both included in the 11-player shortlist for the gong.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Chelsea duo Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, Paris Saint-Germain forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, last year’s winner Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund talisman Erling Haaland and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema complete the line-up.
Paul Pogba leaves Man Utd fans confused after cryptic Instagram post
Manchester United supporters have been left baffled by Paul Pogba’s latest Instagram offering as the World Cup winning midfielder enters the final six months of his contract.
The 28-year-old looks set to come to the end of his time at Old Trafford having re-signed from Juventus back in 2016 and winning only the League Cup and Europa League across five full seasons.
The France midfielder is currently on the sidelines having picked a hamstring injury back in October, with his outspoken agent Mino Raiola insisting that his future remains undecided.
Although Pogba has been open about his dreams of playing for Real Madrid in the past – he has been rather quiet this time around as fans grow frustrated.
However, Pogba has now issued a statement of nine words using his official Instagram account, leaving many of his 50 million followers feeling slightly confused.
Alongside a snap of Pogba posing an a luxury car, the caption reads: “Don’t look at the problem, look at the solution.”
With one fan commenting with a pair of emoji eyes: “Interesting.”
And a second adding: “And this meaning your looking for a new club rather than help out. That’s my take on this post.”
With a third saying: “You are the problem?”
In the latest update over his client back in October, Raiola told The Times: “You would have to ask Manchester United about it.
“At this moment everything is calm. There is no update.”
With United boss Ralf Rangnick saying when asked about Pogba: “I wouldn’t say he’s not worth keeping.
“But players have to want to play for a big club like Manchester United.
“If a player does not want to play Manchester United in the medium or long term, I don’t think it makes sense to convince him to change his mind.
“But let’s wait and see, I have spoken with him [Pogba] for 15 minutes over the phone a few days ago [Tuesday].
“Let’s have him come back, get fit, train with the team and see where we stand, how the team has developed by then.”
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