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Phil Jones Refused To Give Up The Number Four To Raphael Varane

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Phil Jones Refused To Give Up The Number Four To Raphael Varane

Manchester United centre back Phil Jones refused to give up his number four squad number, despite being asked by new man Raphael Varane.

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Varane had been expected to join United from Real Madrid for much of the summer, with the two clubs having agreed a fee a couple of weeks ago, but there had been a delay in the announcement.

On Saturday afternoon, the Premier League club finally revealed that the France centre back had officially signed, in the best possible fashion, as they presented him on the pitch ahead of the first game of the campaign, against Leeds United.

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During the presentation Varane held up his brand new United shirt with the number 19 on the back of it, a departure from the number five he wore with Real, and the number four he wears for France.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the 28-year-old did request the number four shirt from Jones but the defender, who hasn't played for nearly 19 months.

Phil Jones last performance was in January 2020. Image: PA Images
Phil Jones last performance was in January 2020. Image: PA Images

Jones has had injury troubles in the past but has also completely fallen out of favour at the club under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and is fifth choice at best.

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His chances of playing were partially boosted by Axel Tuanzebe's loan move to Aston Villa, but with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and now Varane ahead of him it's unlikely he'll play at all.

The 29-year-old's most recent performance came in a 6-1 win over Tranmere in the FA Cup, in January 2020, and his most recent league game was a 2-0 loss to Burnley just a few days prior.

In the past two years he has only started two league games for United but his contract doesn't expire until July 2023, and it seems unlikely anyone will buy him right now.

Varane's number 19 was worn by Amad Diallo in the second half of last season but the winger has now been given number 16, he is expected to go out on loan this season.

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The arrival of the former Real centre back, who is a four times Champions League winner, was unsurprisingly met with huge cheers inside Old Trafford.

Fans carried that energy into the game, the first one at full capacity at the stadium since the 2-0 win over Manchester City in March 2020, and they were pumped up further by the performance on the pitch.

Bruno Fernandes grabbed a hat-trick and Paul Pogba set up four goals as they ran out 5-1 winners against their rivals.

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United fans will certainly be excited to see their new defender in action, no matter what number he wears.

Featured Image Credit: PA/BT Sport

Topics: Football, Premier League, Raphael Varane, Manchester United, Phil Jones

Ryan Sidle
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