They were David de Gea in goal, Phil Jones in defence and Ashley Young in midfield. From the trio,Ashley Young seemed to have an immediate impact scoring spectacular goals notably in the 8-2 demolition of Arsenal. But as the season progressed, inconsistency creeped in.
David de Gea on the other hand started his first season on a low making critical errors but picked up form later in the season making spectacular saves. With the first two having indifference in their first season, it was Phil Jones who got the crowd excited at the player who had all the attributes to be a potential United legend.
Phil Jones made his competitive debut for Manchester United as a second-half substitute, replacing Rio Ferdinand in the FA Community Shield clash against Manchester City. He made his league debut a week later, again as a substitute replacing Ferdinand, as United beat West Bromwich Albion 2–1 on the opening weekend.
He made his full Premier League debut on 22 August 2011 against Tottenham Ho+
stpur in a 3–0 victory at Old Trafford, playing the entire game alongside Jonny Evans. On 10 September 2011,Jones played at right back providing two assists for Wayne Rooney in United's 5–0 thumping of Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.
In the away game to Liverpool, Jones was deployed as a box to box midfielder which was different compared to his role at right back and center back. His first season at United also saw him score four goals, two of which to Phil's bad luck were own goals. He also is known for his lung bursting runs through midfield which were a driving force for many United attacks last season.
Even though Jones also faced some time out with injury, he made a remarkable 40 appearances in his first season alone.
Having played so many games in different positions and also scoring a few goals, has Jones really made any progress in his development?
When Jones came to Manchester United, he was originally a young and talented centre back option with loads of potential, enough to challenge even the strongest centre back pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the years to come.
But with Sir Alex opting to deploy Jones in varied position all over the park, he didn't break the partnership in the opening season, failing to establish himself there even with Vidic injured. It ended up with him a jack of all trades but a master of none.A utility player to be more exact.
In my opinion Phil Jones is much more than a utility player and playing-him all over the pitch is hindering his development. Right now Jones is still a young lad in the developing stage of his career where he has to be molded into a player only keeping one particular position in mind. If he continues to be used as a utility player, it would be the end of Phil Jones as we know it, but the player has to help himself by seizing the chances in a particular position.
The new season has seen Jones sidelined with a back injury which will keep him out for a few weeks.When he does return, it is left to see what position Sir Alex plays him in. With United's current defensive worries it is more likely Jones will fill in one of the defensive slots. Most preferably at centre back as Jones doesn't have the pace and technical ability to play at right back and lacks the strength,awareness and passing ability in a midfield role, but with United failing to buy a defensive midfielder it remains an option.
Having impressed in a red shirt last season,Jones will have to pick himself up and jump right back into action this season, proving his critics that he has the what it takes to be a first choice player at United