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Jones 'riding the rollercoaster'
Published : 04 Aug 2011 17:23:00
Phil Jones accepts there is little chance of him playing every week at Manchester United like he did at Blackburn Rovers. Amazingly, less than two years after making his debut for Rovers, the 19-year-old cost United around £17million. Now he could be in line to pick up his first senior medal in Sunday's Community Shield encounter with Manchester City at Wembley. Jones admits it represents rapid progress, although he acknowledges he may have to get used to taking a back seat once the Premier League campaign begins in earnest next week. "It has all happened so quickly," he told Inside United. "I am 19 and I did not expect so much to occur at such an early stage of my career. "I am just riding the rollercoaster at the minute and enjoying everything. "I did play every week at Blackburn and want to do the same at United. "But I am a realistic person and I know that is not going to happen with the quality of player we have here. "As I improve and show good performances in training, hopefully I will get an opportunity and will take it." There is also a decent chance Jones will play some part in Paul Scholes' testimonial match at Old Trafford tomorrow. It would represent his first appearance at the stadium since he was part of the Blackburn team thumped 7-1 by a rampant United outfit last term. Jones occupied the holding midfield role that day, his ability to fill that slot part of the reason Ferguson bought him. The Chorley-born youngster appeared at right-back during United's recent tour of the United States, which could be another useful option later in the season. However, Jones insists it is central defence that he feels most at home. "That is definitely where I play my best football," he said. "I like to see the game in front of me and read the play. "When the manager asked me to move into midfield at Blackburn it was strange. I didn't expect it. "It took a few games to adapt to that role and the positions I should take. "But if I was asked to do that here, I would feel comfortable with it." Jones was taken aback at the reception United received in the States, although the warmth of that welcome will be nothing to that reserved for Scholes and Eric Cantona, who returns to manage a New York Cosmos side full of guest players as they attempt to secure a place as Major League Soccer's 20th team. Cantona's return has guaranteed to take the spotlight off Scholes, a situation that suits the midfielder just fine given his preference for life away from the limelight. Once Friday's celebrations are out of the way, Scholes will sit down with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to discuss the minor details of a coaching role that has been offered in abstract without any real explanation of what will be involved. In a sense, Scholes is an unlikely coach. However, if he is able to transfer his unquestioned ability as a footballer onto the training ground, the 36-year-old would be an invaluable asset. And it is something that has become an increasingly interesting option for a player who made his last competitive appearance for United in last season's Champions League final defeat to Barcelona. "A couple of years ago I felt like my career was never going to end, so you don't think about what to do in the future in the same way as I have done over the past six months," said Scholes. "Football is the only thing I know a little bit about so I am going to give the coaching a go. "If it doesn't work or I am not very good at it I won't carry on doing it."