The forgotten man of Old Trafford will not be involved in the group stage game against Villarreal but he has still travelled with the group and has been lending his support
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- 15:42, 23 Nov 2021
- Updated18:32, 23 Nov 2021
He might be well and truly down the pecking order at Old Trafford, but Phil Jones remains a key part of the club off-the-field.
The injury-ravaged defender has not kicked a ball in anger for United for 22 months – since way back in January 2020.
But he has shown his class during United's preparations for their crucial Champions League game on Tuesday.
United, who sacked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday, are in Spain where they face Villarreal in a tough-looking encounter.
Jones has travelled with the squad but is ineligible to play. That's because he was not registered as part of United's 25-man squad for the first phase of the competition.
Have Your Say! Should Jones leave United, or stay and fight for his place? Let us know in the comments
Phil Jones travelled with the United squad to Spain despite not being eligible to feature against Villarreal
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But he has been showing his support for not only United's senior players but also their youngsters.
United's under-19s also faced Villarreal in a UEFA Youth League group clash on Tuesday afternoon.
And Jones, along with fellow senior player Lee Grant, was present in the stands watching on. It is reported that the 29-year-old had asked if he was able to come down and show his support to the youngsters.
At first, it didn't appear to have done its magic as the Spanish side went into a half-time 1-0 lead thanks to Alex Jimenez.
But United roared back after the restart and goals from Charlie McNeill and Sam Mather ensured a 2-1 win.
The victory moves United to top of the group with one game left. They have qualified for the next stage of the competition.
This has once again proved to be a hugely frustrating campaign for Jones, United and supporters.
Despite his obvious lack of game time a report earlier this month claims that as many as 13 clubs are eyeing up a January swoop for Jones.
Jones still has 18 months to run on his Manchester United contract
Jones recently brought up ten years at Old Trafford, following his big-money move from Blackburn in 2011, and his contract at United still has another 18 months to run.
Speaking to the UTD podcast recently, Jones recently opened up about his decision to quit all forms of social media.
He said: “I stepped away from social media a long time ago, but it’s difficult because all your friends read it, your family read it and they support you, they want the best for you.
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“They don’t want to see their mate, their husband, their dad getting slaughtered all over the papers or all over the media, so it’s tough because mentally I was going through a tough time and to read stuff as well.
“It’s difficult, but it’s something I’ve learned to deal with, especially over the time I’ve been at United and the more experience you get, the older you get, the better you learn to deal with those things."
He has featured in a senior matchday squad just once this term, when he was an unused sub for the EFL Cup defeat at home to West Ham in September.
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