Manchester United defender Phil Jones says he has been “through hell and back” due to a long-term knee problem but believes he can the “light at the end of the tunnel now”.
The 29-year-old has not played for the club since an FA Cup tie in January 2020 because of the injury, for which he underwent an operation last summer.
The England international, who has spent an injury-hit decade at the club, recently returned to first-team training as he continues to work towards full recovery.
“I’ve been through hell and back over the last couple of years,” Jones told Manchester United’s club website.
“I struggled with my knee a little bit and (there) came a point after lockdown where I thought enough was enough.
“I kept myself in great shape over lockdown and came back. But I remember just training out here [at Carrington] and going into the doc and saying ‘enough’s enough’. Unfortunately, there was going to be time off the pitch, which I knew was going to be difficult for me, but it was something that I had to do.
“Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’ve been back training, played a few behind-closed-doors games and I’m feeling really good at the minute.”
Jones, who has played more than 200 games in all competitions for United, said his 20-month injury layoff has been challenging.
“I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that’s the lowest I probably ever felt in my life,” he added.
“You try and get a balance between football and family life but it was so difficult going home and trying to look after the kids. You’re there, but you’re not there, you’re not present.
“It’s nice to get that balance back.”
By Nick Wright
Raphael Varane is casting his mind back to the summer of 2011, when Europe’s biggest clubs were vying for his signature and Sir Alex Ferguson appeared at the door of his mother’s house in Lille to try and persuade him to join Manchester United.
The centre-back, 18 at the time, would end up choosing Real Madrid following a late intervention from Zinedine Zidane. But even as the seasons passed and the silverware stacked up in the Spanish capital, Manchester United remained in his thoughts. Ferguson did not get his man but his trip to Lille was not in vain.
“It was a special moment for me and my family,” Varane tells Sky Sports, speaking over Zoom from the club’s Carrington headquarters a decade on. “It’s amazing to meet a person like him at 18. You know, after that, it’s your destiny. Ten years in Madrid and now I’m here.”