Back, knee, then ankle – Phil Jones admits his injuries have proved a recurring nightmare in the battle to nail down a first-team place at Manchester United this season.
Now near the end of his second year with the Red Devils, the former Blackburn Rovers man enjoyed rave reviews for his performance against Real Madrid.
He is also blossoming into a real contender for a spot in the heart of defence – but the 21-year-old concedes constant setbacks have made this campaign anything but plain sailing.
“It has been frustrating,” Jones told official club magazine Inside United. “Certainly at the start of the season.
“It was tough as I had a back injury and then, in the first or second training session back, I injured my knee again.
“It was kind of one thing after the next and I felt like: ‘Is this sort of thing going to end?’
“Thankfully, I got over that and played in quite a few games and cup games as well.
“The cup ties really gave me a chance to have more game-time and I think I’ve done reasonably well towards the back end of the season.”
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the autumn of their careers, the versatile Jones could prove to have a central role in United’s future.
And Sir Alex Ferguson – who bought the defender as a teenager for £17m in 2011 – has described him as an ‘animal for football’.
However, Jones is aware his passion for the game can cause him to over-stretch himself – most notably against Reading which sidelined him for the second leg against Madrid.
“It was a silly tackle,” he conceded. “I probably should have looked after myself a bit more. I will learn from it as an experienced head would probably not have done that.
“I like making tackles, I like defending – injuries are going to occur in football so I’ve probably just been unfortunate, especially at the start of the season.”
Image courtesy of Chevroletfc, via YouTube, with thanks.