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23rd Nov 2021

Phil Jones travels with Man Utd squad for Villarreal game despite being ineligible

Callum Boyle

Ray Parlour joked that Jones was only going to ‘carry the bags’

Forgotten Manchester United man Phil Jones has travelled with the squad for their crunch Champions League against Villarreal on Tuesday night despite being ineligible to play.

Jones has almost been cast aside at Old Trafford – last featuring for the first team almost two years ago, with any rare outings coming at Under-23 level, where he has played three times this season.

However the former Blackburn Rovers man was seen with the rest of the United squad as they travelled to Spain for their first game under caretaker boss Michael Carrick after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking last weekend.

Former Arsenal player and TalkSPORT presenter, Ray Parlour, joked that he had ‘forgotten’ Jones was still at United and couldn’t understand the purpose of taking him as part of the travelling squad.

“Do you know what, I forgot Phil Jones was even in there,” said Parlour.

“What’s he going to do? Carry the bags or something?

“He’s not in the squad, what’s the point of taking him?”

For all the laughs and jokes though, there may actually be a logical reason as to why the 29-year-old has been brought back into the first-team fold.

United are experiencing a defensive crisis of late. With Raphael Varane out injured and Harry Maguire suspended in the Premier League after his calamitous red card against Watford, they are short on options with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof the only fit recognised centre-backs available.

It could mean that should Carrick opt to play a back three in United’s upcoming Premier League game against Chelsea this weekend that Jones could be given a rare chance to play and show what he can do.

By taking him to Spain, it gives a chance for Jones to work closely with the side and also allow the coaching staff to assess whether he could still be a useful asset to the team.

A win for United over Unai Emery’s side will secure their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

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