Footballer, Phil Jones has written a heartfelt letter to Manchester United fans after it was confirmed that he’d be leaving the club next month.
The former England international has spent 12 years at Old Trafford after signing from Blackburn Rovers as a teenager.
Legendary club boss Sir Alex Ferguson once predicted that Jones could’ve gone on to become United’s “best ever player,” but injury quickly ravaged his career and he’s made just six Premier League appearances in the last four seasons for the club.
The Red Devils on Friday, May 19 announced that the 31-year-old defender would be exiting at the end of his contract in June.
Jones then took to social media to address supporters and wish manager Erik ten Hag, his staff and team-mates the best of luck.
“I thought about how best to present my words to everyone and felt that I wanted to talk direct to the fans who have supported me throughout my time at Manchester United,” he began. “It’s always tough to leave a club. I did so already with Blackburn Rovers, all those years ago aged only 19, but I could never imagine what was to follow.
“My time at United has been nothing short of incredible. When I decided to leave Blackburn, I always wanted to prove myself further. I’d represented my boyhood club, and lived a dream, but I was desperate to show everyone what I could do at the highest level. I had this hunger inside me, I was desperate to continue that at a club that could challenge for everything. I had offers from a few places, but I was waiting and waiting for the call from United.
“One day, on holiday, the phone rang and it was Sir Alex. I left my holiday that day; I couldn’t wait to meet him. I couldn’t wait to sign and, most of all, I couldn’t wait to get started. There was only one club where I wanted to continue my journey in the game. To wear this shirt just once, to wear this badge and represent everyone associated with it, was an honour.
“I wish I could have played more. I wish I could have given more to the many squads I played alongside. I will say, from the bottom of my heart, I did everything I could. I did everything the medical team asked of me. I never left a stone unturned in the pursuit of living my dream and having the opportunity to represent Manchester United on the pitch.
“I spent some difficult days away from my family, rehabilitating and recovering away from everyone, recuperating away from the training pitch, which I was desperate to get back to. I’ve said before that I found it hard to even speak to my team-mates because I was hurt that I couldn’t help them. I was hurt that my family couldn’t see me on matchdays, and you feel like you’re letting people down.
“Sometimes, in life, things happen that we don’t like, but we have to learn to accept it and be at peace in our minds that we did everything we could to overcome the challenges. In your career, and life, that’s all we can really do.
“The road can be rocky and throw you off track. It’s about getting up from setbacks and keeping going. This is a lesson I’ll push into my next challenges, for whatever lies ahead. I lived a dream at the biggest club in the world. I played for England in major tournaments. At United, I won trophies, most notably the Premier League under Sir Alex, in his final season.
“It’s not a time to be sad. It’s a time to look back, for me and my family, and be happy that I managed to live a dream at United. I can always say to my family and friends that not many people get to play for this club, to always be in its history and to be able to look back with such happy memories.
“I wish Erik and his staff, and all the players, the best of luck for the future. He’s building something here and I’ll be watching, supporting, and hoping, more than anyone, that he can continue the progress we can all see already. I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me at Manchester United, where I’ve made friends for life.
“But, most of all, my family, who stuck by me through everything. The biggest one to my wife and two beautiful girls. I cannot put into words the support you’ve given me. We’ve stuck together and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”