Why Did Phil Jones Return to Manchester United After Being Released in the Summer?

Phil Jones has recently made headlines for being seen at several Manchester United academy sessions.

Reports have since linked Jones to a possible role in the club’s coaching staff for the U18 team. He was released by Manchester United as a free agent at the end of his contract in June, but his return to the club has sparked speculation about his future.

However, Manchester Evening News has debunked rumors of Jones returning to the club in a coaching capacity. They state that his presence in training sessions is seen as an opportunity for young players to interact with someone who has experience and knowledge to share.

The Red Devils currently have Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, and Harry Maguire as their four main centerbacks. Jonny Evans (35) has also been signed on a one-year deal to bolster the club’s depth in defense.

Jones, aged 31, was signed by the English giants in 2011 for €19.3 million after impressing during his time at Blackburn Rovers. He was in and out of the starting XI during his initial seasons at the club.

However, towards the end of his time at Old Trafford, Jones struggled to get playing time due to injuries and inconsistency. Overall, he made 229 senior appearances for the club across various competitions, but only 13 of those came since the start of the 2019-20 season.

Jones’s last match for The Red Devils took place in May 2022.

Phil Jones Recalls His 2022 Return from Injury as His Highlight at Manchester United

Not many footballers can boast spending more than a decade at Manchester United. Phil Jones was on the club’s roster for 12 years.

The center-back won six senior trophies with The Red Devils, including the Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson in the 2012-13 season. But when asked about the highlight of his career at Manchester, he chose the moment last year when he returned from injury after a lengthy absence.

In an interview with Manchester United’s official website, after it was announced he would leave the club this summer, Jones said:

“I think the highlight for me would have to be the Wolves game [his return from injury last season], when I came back. That was just a moment that I’ll never forget. It gives me goosebumps now, thinking about it. I mean, I worked so, so hard to get to that stage of fitness.”

Jones played the full 90 minutes in his team’s 1-0 league loss against Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 3, 2022. It was his first appearance for the club after a 707-day lay-off, and he only played four more times after that.