• Premier League

Fergie: Phil Jones is an 'animal for football'

ESPN staff
April 5, 2013
Phil Jones' season has been disrupted by injury © PA Photos

Sir Alex Ferguson has described Phil Jones as "an animal for football" who is so versatile he could play as a striker.

The Manchester United manager said Jones reminded him of Brian McClair, the forward who started out in attack but often featured in midfield during the second half of his career at Old Trafford.

Ferguson is sure that Jones' best position is in the centre of defence but has also used the 21-year-old England international at right-back.

And the former Blackburn player has been picked in midfield against Tottenham, Everton, Real Madrid and Chelsea over the last three months.

"Jones is going to be a fantastic player, his talent is unbelievable," Ferguson told Inside United. "You could play him anywhere. I think you could play him centre-forward! He's just that type of player, he's an animal for football. He grasps the game, he understands it. Play him right-back? Brilliant. Play him centre-midfield? No problem. Play him centre-back? Terrific.

"He's just one of those unusual players you get now and again who can play anywhere. We've not had a player like him in terms of someone who can play at that performance level since, well the closest you would get would be Brian McClair."

McClair, now the director of United's academy, joined from Celtic in 1987 and spent 11 years at Old Trafford, starting off as Mark Hughes' partner up front but then dropping back.

Ferguson added: "Now, Brian McClair was a fantastic player. He could play anywhere. I remember kidding him on once; I said to him, just go and play in the right-back area and he laughed.

"I said to him, 'What are you laughing at?' and he said, 'Next week I'll be centre-half.' But that was his character, so composed about life. Nothing bothered him."

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