Phil Jones to leave Man United after 12 years
Phil Jones has written a heartfelt letter to Manchester United fans after it was confirmed that he’d be leaving the club next month.
The former England international has spent 12 years at Old Trafford after signing from boyhood club Blackburn Rovers as a teenager. Legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson once predicted that Jones could’ve gone on to become United’s “best ever player,” but injury quickly ravaged his career and he’s made just six Premier League appearances in the last four seasons.
After the Red Devils announced that the 31-year-old defender would be exiting at the end of his contract in June, Jones took to social media – a platform which he’s rarely used after hoards of abuse down the years – to address supporters and wish manager Erik ten Hag, his staff and soon-to-be former team-mates the best of luck, also thanking the club’s medical team and his beloved family.
“I thought about how best to present my words to everyone and felt that I wanted to talk direct to the fans who have supported me throughout my time at Manchester United,” he began. “It’s always tough to leave a club. I did so already with Blackburn Rovers, all those years ago aged only 19, but I could never imagine what was to follow.
“My time at United has been nothing short of incredible. When I decided to leave Blackburn, I always wanted to prove myself further. I’d represented my boyhood club, and lived a dream, but I was desperate to show everyone what I could do at the highest level. I had this hunger inside me, I was desperate to continue that at a club that could challenge for everything. I had offers from a few places, but I was waiting and waiting for the call from United.
“One day, on holiday, the phone rang and it was Sir Alex. I left my holiday that day; I couldn’t wait to meet him. I couldn’t wait to sign and, most of all, I couldn’t wait to get started. There was only one club where I wanted to continue my journey in the game. To wear this shirt just once, to wear this badge and represent everyone associated with it, was an honour.
“I wish I could have played more. I wish I could have given more to the many squads I played alongside. I will say, from the bottom of my heart, I did everything I could. I did everything the medical team asked of me. I never left a stone unturned in the pursuit of living my dream and having the opportunity to represent Manchester United on the pitch.
“I spent some difficult days away from my family, rehabilitating and recovering away from everyone, recuperating away from the training pitch, which I was desperate to get back to. I’ve said before that I found it hard to even speak to my team-mates because I was hurt that I couldn’t help them. I was hurt that my family couldn’t see me on matchdays, and you feel like you’re letting people down.
“Sometimes, in life, things happen that we don’t like, but we have to learn to accept it and be at peace in our minds that we did everything we could to overcome the challenges. In your career, and life, that’s all we can really do.
“The road can be rocky and throw you off track. It’s about getting up from setbacks and keeping going. This is a lesson I’ll push into my next challenges, for whatever lies ahead. I lived a dream at the biggest club in the world. I played for England in major tournaments. At United, I won trophies, most notably the Premier League under Sir Alex, in his final season.