Rio Ferdinand, April 2022

Rio Ferdinand ‘hoping it’s not true’ former Man Utd teammate has been banned by Erik ten Hag

Rio Ferdinand hopes that reports of Phil Jones being banned from the Manchester United dressing room and being told he has no future at the club are not true.

The 30-year-old centre-back has made 229 appearances during his 11-year Old Trafford stay but has slipped further down the pecking order since Erik ten Hag brought Lisandro Martinez with him from Ajax.

The likes of Raphael Varane, Martinez, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi are all ahead of Jones.

Indeed, the former Blackburn star has made just two starts in the last two years. And his hopes this term have not been helped by an injury suffered in pre-season.

Reports over the weekend claimed the England man was asked to clear his space at the club’s training round. That was in order to make room for Ten Hag’s summer additions.

And on Monday, Jones was completely omitted from the club’s Europa League squad.

Fernandowho actually played alongside Jones at United, admits he feels sorry for his old teammate.

Rio feels for his old teammate

“’Listen, I’ve got to be honest, I hope it’s not true,” Ferdinand told Vibe with Five when asked about Jones’ situation.

“If it is true, that’s Erik ten Hag laying it out and saying: ‘You’re not a part of my plans, moving forward you’re surplus to requirements’.

“But that’s the game man. If you’re not involved and you’re not part of the first-team going forward, why are you going to be taking up someone else’s space?

“There might be a young player who Ten Hag wants to come in and gain some experience.

“We have to wait and see. But Phil Jones, if he’s still there but been demoted to the reserves, that’s a hard pill to swallow.

“He’s suffered some really horrific injuries. So I just hope he stays fit and at some point he’ll be able to go out and play somewhere.”

Jones was not the only United first-teamer left out of Te Hag’s Europa League squad. Fullback Brandon Williams was also missing from the party.

The Red Devils kick-off their European campaign against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

Contract cull the best thing for Phil Jones

Rather than sitting and rotting at Old Trafford, the best thing that could happen to the defender would be to have his contract torn up.

At least by doing that, Jones is then in control of his own future going forward.

His current deal runs out next summer, although he does have the option of a further 12 months.

But let’s face it, while Ten Hag is in charge, he has zero chance of playing for United again.

If he can get himself fit again then there are likely suitors out there who could sign Jones.

But the longer he leaves it, just accepting his current plight, then the message will get out there that Jones is happy to just sit on his money and not play at all.

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