Phil Jones starred on his return to the Manchester United team despite his side losing 1-0 to Wolves on Monday, and his performance gives him three options this month
Although it was a disappointing night for United, there was one positive to come away with as Phil Jones made his long-awaited return to the starting line-up.
It was the first time in 708 days that Jones has played for United, and he was arguably their man of the match, along with goalkeeper David De Gea, which has led some fans to believe that he may have a future at the club after all.
One way or another, Jones’ stunning performance may have saved his career, and the defender has must choose from three options in January regarding his next step.
Stay and fight for his place
It may be a tall order, but Jones looked as comfortable as any other United centre-back this season during the defeat to Wolves, despite competing against a World Cup winner and an £80m signing.
Jones put his body on the line for United, and the defender still had that passion and drive that was instilled into him from Sir Alex Ferguson from an early age.
The 29-year-old may have only started the game due to a lack of options, but Jones has now made a statement, and if he can keep his performances consistent, there’s no reason to suggest why he shouldn’t become more of a regular.
Head out on loan
If Jones is concerned about immediate playing time, but does not wish to leave Old Trafford, he could take a page out of Jesse Lingard’s book and head out on loan for first team football.
Lingard was the forgotten man at United but completely revived his career at West Ham during the second half of last season, helping lead David Moyes’ side to a Europa League finish.
The England international decided to try and work his way back into the United squad, but it has so far proved unsuccessful, and it may lead to a January exit for the midfielder unless he decides to move until the summer.
There are a number of sides that would take Jones on loan, and regular football could be exactly what he needs after enduring a gruelling few years in the treatment room.
Seek a permament move
If Jones is concerned that he will not regularly feature due to Maguire and Varane’s expectation to start, then it may be best for the defender and the club to part ways.
Over the summer, Jones was linked with both Newcastle and West Ham, as David Moyes and Steve Bruce were happy to throw the star a career lifeline.
However, Jones proved on Monday night that he is well up to the task, and with Newcastle struggling defensively, and West Ham suffering injury setbacks, a January move could be on the table.
Jones could also use Lingard’s move as an example once more, as perhaps a permanent transfer for the midfielder may have been the best option in the first place.