Just consider these. Sir Alex Ferguson, who signed him for Manchester United for £16.5million six years ago, claimed he could become the club’s best-ever player.
Sir Bobby Charlton stated that Jones reminded him of Old Trafford legend Duncan Edwards.
Former England boss Fabio Capello compared the ex-Backburn defender to Italian great Franco Baresi.
And current England boss Gareth Southgate says Jones, 25, is the best defender in the country.
So what does the down-to-earth United and England centre-back make of all that? He says with a smile: “My wife, Kaya, has a description of me, too – she’s always saying I’m clumsy!”
It its Jones’ way of underlining he will not get carried away by praise – or be allowed to.
And he says: “When you are younger, as daft as it sounds, you don’t really take too much notice. You just don’t for whatever reason.
“I’m NOT injury prone, though. I could give you a list of 20, 30, 40 players in the Premier League who’ve had far more injuries than me.”
“The more experience you get and the older you get, maybe you do take all that into consideration.
“They were comments that spoke highly of me, which is always nice coming from the calibre of those people. It is nice.”
Jones continues to make light of it all by saying of that comparison to Edwards: “The United fans must have thought they were getting some player – then they realised what they had!
“It wasn’t really any extra pressure. If you are getting praise, that’s great. As daft as it sounds, I try not to take it too much to heart.
“It’s the same as getting criticised. You can’t be up there one minute and down the next.
“The game is what it is and I just try to focus on me and not what is going on around me.
“What Gareth said, it’s definitely not what I think about myself. There are a lot of talented players in the squad. Everyone wants to wear the England shirt and take pride in doing that.”
But no one should think that Jones lacks confidence. And while his brave, robust style has caused him problems, he is adamant he is not injury prone.
He says: “I’ve never surprised myself, as I know what I am capable of. Some people like it, some people don’t. But my manager at United (Jose Mourinho) likes it. He must like what he’s seeing, so I’m happy I’m playing. And I definitely see myself as a centre-back. I don’t see myself playing in any other position. I can do a job at right-back or maybe defensive midfield – but in people’s minds they
definitely see me as a centre-back now and that is always what I said I would be.
“I feel I have different sides to my game. It can be the physical side of stuff – but I also feel I can play out from the back and play football.
“Possibly injuries have cost me – but I don’t think that’s because I was rash. The older I’ve got, the wiser I’ve got. Maybe I do step away from some challenges, whereas in the past I would have just gone flying in. But I would call that being naïve and young. Too brave for my own good? My missus might not
“The internet made a thing about a headed tackle I made but that was just one incident where I got
underneath the ball. I wasn’t trying to be a hero or anything. But at times you’ve got to put your body on the line and put your head in where it hurts.”
And despite having to go off in the 25th minute against Germany on Friday night, Jones added: “I’m NOT injury prone, though. I could give you a list of 20, 30, 40 players in the Premier League who’ve had far more injuries than me.
“But nobody talks about them the way they talk about me. Maybe it’s because I play for Man United and that’s the way it is.
“As a person, I’ve not changed one little bit. Not in terms of being big headed – I’m very grounded. I try to live a quiet lifestyle away from football, because I think you have to do that. It works for me.”
But Jones is adamant about one thing. He says: “I hate losing at anything. I was born to win.” And that is something he is determined to do with United – and England.
Published at Sat, 11 Nov 2017 22:30:31 +0000