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When Louis Van Gaal Put Phil Jones On Corners And He Couldn't Beat The First Man

When Louis Van Gaal Put Phil Jones On Corners And He Couldn't Beat The First Man

Louis van Gaal made several bizarre decisions during his time as Manchester United boss, but putting Phil Jones on corner duty was among the oddest.

The lumbering defender was United's designated corner taker in a 2015 Premier League game at QPR and fans were absolutely stunned.

Playing for Man United that day were: Juan Mata, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney, Angel Di Maria and Antonio Valencia. Who all probably had a better chance of putting an accurate ball into the box, as opposed to a man whose first touch is sometimes with his face.

While Jones did not attempt to get down and head the ball in from his corners, he may as well have done. The 6ft 2in centre-back lobbed one directly into the path of the first QPR player in his path.

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Manchester United did eventually win the game 2-0 - but it won't surprise you to learn neither goal originated from a Phil Jones corner kick.

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Van Gaal bemused United fans with his weird tactical decisions, such as playing Marouane Fellaini as a winger or when he substituted Marcus Rashford and brought on Ashley Young when his side urgently needed a goal.

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But giving Jones corner-kick duties after the club had spent £150 million in pre-season bringing in a host of new talent did not go down particularly well.

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To be fair to Jones, he has played as a midfielder in his time and - with only six goals in his United career - it's not like him taking corners was depriving the team of a massive threat from crosses into the box.

However, to counterbalance that, we must also point out that he clearly could not take corners. Which was clearly a bit of a flaw in Van Gaal's masterplan.

United did eventually finish fourth in 2014/15, regaining their Champions League spot. But Van Gaal's second season saw a downturn in league form and - despite an FA Cup win - the eccentric Dutchman was shown the exit.

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Still, at least his decision to put Jones on corners paved the way for Roy Hodgson's equally strange choice to give his best centre-forward, Harry Kane, on corner-taking duties at Euro 2016.

One day we're picturing an England line-up featuring both Kane and Jones; one taking corners on the right and the other on the left - Van Gaal and The Hodgefather high-fiving as they watch on TV.

We can but dream.

Topics: Louis van Gaal, Football, Manchester United, Phil Jones, Premier League

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Alex Reid

Alex Reid is a writer at SPORTbible who’s previously strung words together for FourFourTwo, Boxing News, The Guardian and, yes, Cruise International (it’s about big ships, not Tom). Interests range from football and boxing to real sports like WWE and darts. He is not a cage fighter.