Manchester United defender Phil Jones says he considered leaving the club under Louis van Gaal, but hailed Jose Mourinho’s role in turning his career around.
Jones only started six Premier League matches in 2015-16, as he struggled to win a regular place in the team after dealing with injuries, and pondered whether Old Trafford was the right place to continue his career.
But the defender has emerged as a key player under Mourinho, starting 12 of United’s 14 top-flight matches since the start of November.
And Jones now feels confident once again, as he did under his two favourite previous managers Sam Allardyce and Alex Ferguson.
“No question there were thoughts about my future,” Jones said to the Manchester Evening News.
“It was in the back of my mind. If you are not playing games, that speaks volumes.
“For whatever reason he [Van Gaal] thought I needed to be fitter.
“I had no problem with that, I just played the games. I did what I could do to get back in the team and unfortunately it didn’t really work out under him.
“I was on the bench at Wembley in the FA Cup final and during the last two months of the final season of Van Gaal last year I was fit and playing. I was just made to play reserve games.
“But again that is football – some players are liked and some players are not.
“I feel there have been only three managers who have every truly believed in me and understood me as a player.
“That’s not being critical of other managers but the only three were Sam Allardyce, Sir Alex Ferguson and now Jose Mourinho. They have all given me belief and confidence.
“I said to myself at the start of the season that if someone believes in me and gives me the chance I know I am more than capable of delivering for the manager. Jose has done that.
“Hopefully if I stay fit and keep playing well then it will be at Manchester United because there is no better club to be at.”
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