Jones ‘riding the rollercoaster’

Amazingly, less than two years after making his debut for Rovers,

the 19-year-old cost United around £17million. Now he could be

in line to pick up his first senior medal in Sunday’s Community

Shield encounter with Manchester City at Wembley. Jones admits it

represents rapid progress, although he acknowledges he may have to

get used to taking a back seat once the Premier League campaign

begins in earnest next week. “It has all happened so quickly,” he

told Inside United. “I am 19 and I did not expect so much to occur

at such an early stage of my career. “I am just riding the

rollercoaster at the minute and enjoying everything. “I did play

every week at Blackburn and want to do the same at United. “But I

am a realistic person and I know that is not going to happen with

the quality of player we have here. “As I improve and show good

performances in training, hopefully I will get an opportunity and

will take it.” There is also a decent chance Jones will play some

part in Paul Scholes’ testimonial match at Old Trafford tomorrow.

It would represent his first appearance at the stadium since he was

part of the Blackburn team thumped 7-1 by a rampant United outfit

last term. Jones occupied the holding midfield role that day, his

ability to fill that slot part of the reason Ferguson bought him.

The Chorley-born youngster appeared at right-back during United’s

recent tour of the United States, which could be another useful

option later in the season. However, Jones insists it is central

defence that he feels most at home. “That is definitely where I

play my best football,” he said. “I like to see the game in front

of me and read the play. “When the manager asked me to move into

midfield at Blackburn it was strange. I didn’t expect it. “It took

a few games to adapt to that role and the positions I should take.

“But if I was asked to do that here, I would feel comfortable with

it.” Jones was taken aback at the reception United received in the

States, although the warmth of that welcome will be nothing to that

reserved for Scholes and Eric Cantona, who returns to manage a New

York Cosmos side full of guest players as they attempt to secure a

place as Major League Soccer’s 20th team. Cantona’s return has

guaranteed to take the spotlight off Scholes, a situation that

suits the midfielder just fine given his preference for life away

from the limelight. Once Friday’s celebrations are out of the way,

Scholes will sit down with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to discuss

the minor details of a coaching role that has been offered in

abstract without any real explanation of what will be involved. In

a sense, Scholes is an unlikely coach. However, if he is able to

transfer his unquestioned ability as a footballer onto the training

ground, the 36-year-old would be an invaluable asset. And it is

something that has become an increasingly interesting option for a

player who made his last competitive appearance for United in last

season’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona. “A couple of

years ago I felt like my career was never going to end, so you

don’t think about what to do in the future in the same way as I

have done over the past six months,” said Scholes. “Football is the

only thing I know a little bit about so I am going to give the

coaching a go. “If it doesn’t work or I am not very good at it I

won’t carry on doing it.”