Rio Ferdinand has claimed Phil Jones is blocking a Manchester United academy player from a first team opportunity as he urged the 29-year-old to leave Old Trafford.
Jones first played in 19 months in a closed-door friendly against Burnley last week after being sidelined with a knee injury.
The defender has participated in United’s pre-season training and is preparing his return to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Rio Ferdinand urged former United team-mate Phil Jones (center) to ‘find a new club’
Jones has two more years on his £ 130,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford and wants to rebuild his career at United.
However, his chances of regaining a regular starting place are slim after the £ 42million arrival from Raphael Varane and Ferdinand has ended his former teammate’s stay at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand has claimed Jones’s exit is long overdue and believes the defender should have been discharged before Chris Smalling left for Rome in 2019.
The former United man claimed Jones (right) should have left when Chris Smalling (left) did
“He is currently playing the youth squad in this squad,” Ferdinand told Vibe with FIVE.
“He had too many injuries… I was on the same team as Phil Jones, he came from Blackburn when he was young, everyone said he was going to be this great player.
“Huge potential, but injuries completely destroyed his career, and then confidence issues at times as well.
“He never managed to impose himself fully in the team. Whether it’s injuries, lack of form, lack of confidence.
“I think he should have gone a long time ago. He should have left before Chris Smalling. Find a new club and play football.
Ferdinand claimed Phil Jones was blocking a United academy player from the first team
Transfermarkt list 23 separate issues during Jones’ United career, the latest being the serious knee injury he has spent the past 18 months battling against.
That means a decade at United has only seen Jones play 224 times, less than half of the games the team has played.
In the 2013-14 campaign, he played 39 games but hasn’t gone past 30 since, amid a recurring injury nightmare.
But despite having spent most of his career at United on the injury board, the Red Devils hierarchy offered Jones a four-year contract extension in 2019, which keeps him linked with Old Trafford until in 2023.
Jones returned to preseason training this summer after a 19-month absence due to injury
“He lacked consistency throughout his career at Man United. It is a fact, for all the reasons I have indicated before, ”added Ferdinand.
“I am baffled by how he always got a new contract at the club given his last years at the club. It doesn’t make sense to me how you get a new contract.
“I remember that at the time, you had to do an absolute transplant to get a new contract. We should perform, we should be an essential member of the team. Phil Jones is not that.
‘He did well. Listen, good luck to him if you can get it. Staying at Man United is a great gig, but I consider him a person, are you really going to be happy to have been sitting there all these years.
The defender (left) has only played 224 times, spending most of his career at United injured
‘I think [Danny] Drinking water was a bit the same [at Chelsea]. It’s pretty easy to sit there for a bit, to hide behind the curtains.
“To be fair to Phil Jones, I didn’t see him come out and talk and clarify, he might have had injuries that we don’t know. But if he was in good shape and sat there the way he was, sign a new deal and stay and don’t go out on loan… that’s not what a footballer wants to do.
“There are players who are happy to just sit down and clubs and not play and relax. Winston Bogarde did it at Chelsea for about three or four years. Signed a big deal and commuted from Holland.
“If I was on the team with someone like that, I wouldn’t talk to them. It’s a waste of time, why should I chat with you and energize you, taking that away from my other teammates who are here to play and fight for 90 minutes every week.