Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Former Man Utd man Phil Jones takes surprising new career path amid retirement hint

Phil Jones and wife Kaya Hall during the red carpet arrivals for the Manchester United United for Unicef Gala Dinner at Old Trafford

Former Man Utd star Phil Jones with his wife Kaya Hall

Phil Jones has strongly intimated he is ready to hang up his boots after revealing his next career move, which has been described by the former Manchester United defender as the “start of a new journey”.

The defender spent 12 seasons with the Red Devils and was their longest serving player when his deal came to an end on June 30 of this year. Having arrived in a £20m deal from Blackburn in summer 2011, Jones arrived at Old Trafford two weeks earlier than another long-serving stalwart in David De Gea.

Indeed, their respective journeys at Old Trafford came to an end on the same day this summer.

Unlike De Gea, though, Jones could never claim to be a regular. However, in surviving a string of managers at the club, he made a total of 211 appearances, scoring six goals throughout his stay with United.

Much-maligned throughout his career with the Red Devils, Jones at least earned some sympathy from another former star in Dimitar Berbatov who revealed exactly why Jones stayed where he did for so many years past his perceived sell-by date.

Now a free agent and still only 31, Jones is eligible to join any club of his choosing. However, despite interest from Burnley – albeit from the January window and not the summer – Jones is yet to get fixed up with a new club.

And while the 27-times capped England defender has not officially announced his retirment, it seems Jones’ latest announcement on social media owes to a career away from the football field.

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Phil Jones steps away from professional football

However, Jones will not stepping entirely away from the world of football with the ex centre-half revealing he is working towards his coaching badges and has started a sporting director course.

“Start of a new journey,” Jones posted on social media.

“Great to begin the global football sport directorship course with the PFA business school, learning new things about the game, whilst also continuing to push ahead with my A licence and badges at the club that gave me so much. Excited to get started.”

As part of the preparations for this next chapter, Jones has been working with and observing United’s younger age groups for a good few months now. That process will now step up, with Erik ten Hag granting him access to the training sessions held by the likes of Adam Lawrence, who runs the club’s development of youngsters between the ages of 13 and 16.

The sporting director course, meanwhile, is run in collaboration with programme co-directors Les Reed, the former FA technical director, and ex-Spain goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, who has had spells as director of football at Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and Marseille.

If Jones does step away from the playing side of the game, he’ll have had a career the envy of plenty, having won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League.

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