Erik ten Hag’s early days at Man Utd have seen big names dropped out of the starting lineup, opening doors for other squad players to get some playing minutes. But one outcast is unlikely to feature this season under the new manager.
Phil Jones is not eligible to play for the Red Devils in the Premier League after Ten Hag decided to leave the long serving centre-back out of the registered squad. As per ESPN, it’s possible he has played his last game for the club.
United let 27 players – including 15 on a permanent basis – leave this summer, and were open to the Englishman’s exit as well. But a lack of fitness scuppered any possible move.
As the United squad flew to Thailand and Australia for their pre-season commitments, the 30-year-old stayed behind at Carrington during the summer to follow a personal training programme. As things stand, there’s no timescale put on his return.
Jones could be registered to represent United in the league in January, and he remains hopeful of playing again regularly. But there’s an acceptance it will have to be at a different club.
The former Blackburn Rovers prodigy, who was once predicted to become one of United’s greatest-ever players by Sir Alex Ferguson, is out of his current contract at Old Trafford at the end of the campaign.
And although United have an option to extend Jones’ deal by another 12 months, it’s likely that he will be allowed to leave quietly in the summer of 2023.