Jones pleased by starring role
Phil Jones has been surprised at the number of appearances he has made for Manchester United in his first season at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson splashed out £18million to sign Jones from Blackburn last summer. It was envisaged United would ease the Chorley-born player in gradually but partly through his performances and partly through injuries elsewhere, Jones has been thrown in at the deep end.
Sunday's win over Swansea represented his 40th appearance of the campaign in all competitions, and Jones said: "If anyone had told me at the start of the season I would have made 40 appearances for Manchester United I would have snapped their hands off. It is incredible."
Barring an unexpected turn of events in Manchester City's match against QPR next Sunday, Jones will end the campaign with a Barclays Premier League runners-up medal
Yet few who have watched Jones closely this term, particularly in the middle portion of the season when he was earning comparisons with legendary United star Duncan Edwards, doubt he is destined for the very top of the game.
Sam Allardyce knew it when he handed Jones his Blackburn debut two years ago, and asked him to mark Didier Drogba.
That he managed it was an indicator of the 20-year-old's laidback attitude, which ensured he was not overawed for long when he first wandered into United's dressing room.
"There is definitely a bit of personal intimidation," he said. "You always raise the question to yourself. Am I good enough to be here?
"The manager has shown that faith in me. Hopefully I have repaid it."
Prior to Fabio Capello's surprise resignation in February it seemed Jones was a certainty to feature in England's Euro 2012 squad. That may now be in doubt due Capello's exit but a consolation prize would be an Olympics berth, and the youngster said: "Hopefully I can be part of one of them."