Former Premier League defender Martin Keown has slammed Manchester United’s Phil Jones for his display in their 3-3 draw with Sheffield United at the weekend.
The Blades went into a two-goal lead, thanks in part to Jones’ unsuccessful efforts to deal with the ball in the first half which eventually led to John Fleck scoring the game’s first goal.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Keown labelled the 27-year-old as ‘problematic’, while he also criticised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to select him as part of a back-three in defence.
He said: “Jones always looked problematic in that backline, then he was at fault for the opening goal. Instead of pumping the ball into row Z — like he should have done — he allowed Lys Mousset to take it off him.
“No defender should let that happen or even take the chance. Maybe there was a hint of a foul, but Jones needed to be more dominant, more assertive, more clever.
“The man [Solskjaer] shoehorned into the team made a mistake and it left United chasing the game.
“For the neutral, this was a great spectacle but what a day to forget for Jones.”
Jones’ appearance on Sunday was his first in the Premier League this season – and just his fourth in all competitions for the Red Devils.
It was not the first time he had been deployed in a three-man defence, though – having started in a defensive trio against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League last month.
Starting in a squad with an average age of 24.5, Solskjaer insisted to Sky Sports before the game (via Metro) that he picked Jones for his experience – but proceeded to haul the defender off before the start of the second half.
That would suggest Solskjaer’s and Keown’s assessments of his performance were along the same lines, while his WhoScored match rating of 5.62/10 – the lowest in the United squad – appeared to confirm his short-lived yet torrid evening.
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