MUNICH, Germany — Phil Jones has vowed to fight for his place at Manchester United even if Jose Mourinho gets his way and signs another defender before the deadline.
Sources have told ESPN FC United are looking to sign a centre-back before the start of the season with Jerome Boateng, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Maguire, Jose Gimenez and Kalidou Koulibaly all on the list of candidates.
Jones was restricted to 25 appearances last season because of injury but was first-choice towards the end of the campaign and started the FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea alongside Chris Smalling.
After being part of England’s squad at the World Cup, Jones got his first club football of the summer as a second-half substitute in the defeat to Bayern Munich on Sunday.
And afterwards the 26-year-old, who has seen Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof arrive in the past two summers, insisted he is ready to battle Maguire, Alderweireld, Boateng or whomever else might arrive for a place in Jose Mourinho’s team.
“There’s been that talk for the last seven years,” said Jones. “I say it time and time again: Man United are always going to be linked with the best players in the world. They are one of the best clubs in the world so it’s just normal.
“I’ve got no given right to be in the team. You know that every season you have to perform well and when you’re not performing well you’re not in the team.”
Jones was available to face Bayern after cutting short his post-World Cup break. Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku also returned to training early in a bid to be ready to face Leicester at Old Trafford on Friday after Mourinho admitted his team could face a difficult start because of holidays and injuries.
“I just text him [Mourinho] saying I’ll come back and it was as simple as that,” added Jones. “I felt like I wanted to — it’s no big deal really.
“He said thank you. For me personally it’s no drama, no qualms. The media speculate more about the drama than us players but we’re not bothered. We’re happy to come back to help and do what we do for a living.”
Much of United’s preseason has been played out under a cloud with Mourinho growing increasingly frustrated at a lack of transfer activity and a growing injury list.
From the outside, it has looked like the mood in the camp has been downbeat but Jones is adamant that is not the case in the dressing room.
“The mood is good,” he said. “We’ve got a few fresh faces in and they look good and sharp and it’s a good environment to be in. Training’s been good, I feel right in what I’ve been involved in. The lads are just excited.
“Obviously, a disappointing result [against Bayern] — it could have gone better — but I think when we get everyone back and everyone training together we can look forward to Friday.”
While United were struggling in the Allianz Arena, runaway champions Manchester City looked ominously impressive during their Community Shield victory over Chelsea.
Liverpool have also made themselves title challengers by investing heavily this summer but Jones insists he is not interested in what United’s rivals are doing.
“To be honest, I don’t think we’re looking at anyone around us, who’s playing well, the players they have signed,” he said.
“We’re just focusing on us and doing our job and it starts on Friday night. Making sure everyone is fit, available and fresh and ready to start the season and do well.”