Ferguson: Jones will be a regular
Sir Alex Ferguson has assured £17million new-boy Phil Jones he will see plenty of action for Manchester United this season.
The 20-year-old defender has now joined up with his new team-mates after an extended break and looks eager to make an impression with the Red Devils. However, Ferguson revealed Jones' harboured reservations when he initially discussed a big money move from Blackburn, based upon the number of appearances he might make.
"The area we had to work hardest with Phil was to convince him he would get enough football," said Ferguson. "The first thing you can say is last season Nani played the most games for us, with 48. He was still 11 short of the maximum. No-one at United is going to play the maximum number of games. Rio Ferdinand only played 29 and Nemanja Vidic missed some as well."
Ferguson also had a couple of direct examples with which to prove his point. Twelve months ago, Chris Smalling arrived from Fulham expecting to be eased very gradually into the Old Trafford scene. He eventually made 33 appearances. In the two seasons prior to that, Jonny Evans racked up 60.
"The other thing I explained to him was that we are always trying to look ahead towards the team of the future rather than the team of the present," said Ferguson. "We expect the team of the present to fulfil their responsibilities but the team of the future is the one that is growing whilst the other one is doing the business."
Jones was joined on his delayed fight to America's west coast by two of his team-mates from England's disappointing UEFA European U-21 Championship. Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley both excelled in loan periods at Sunderland and Wigan respectively last season and there has been some speculation they will be ushered away again. Ferguson is having none of it.
"They won't go on loan again," the United boss confirmed. "Going on loan only serves one purpose; keeping them happy by playing all the time. At their ages, it wouldn't do us any good because other clubs would be benefiting from what we could be benefiting from. Welbeck is an England international now. He is an exceptional talent. And Cleverley will play for England too.
"He is an intelligent modern-day footballer. His movement and understanding of space is really good for a young player. We are happy both of them will stay with us."