England U19 coach Noel Blake admits the first time he became aware of Phil Jones he thought he was Welsh!.
"With a name like that, I had just assumed that he was Welsh," Blake shared with manutd.com. "I was aware of Phil from my time at Stoke, when he impressed against us for Blackburn. When I went to the national team, I went into Blackburn to do some work with Gary Bowyer, who was then their Academy coach. Phil walked past and I said: 'I've always liked him; shame he's Welsh.' 'No, he's English," Gary said. Phil came into the next squad.
"He had always played well at the back for Blackburn and that's where he came in for us for his debut, and for the opening game in our European Championship qualifiers alongside Steven Caulker, but after that his final two games for us were both in a midfield holding role next to [former United midfielder] Matty James. He was outstanding. His team game and understanding were terrific, and his ability to get forward as well was an important factor.
"He wasn't just a holding player who sat there all day long. He had - and has - the intelligence to know when and where to get forward. He did it from central defence too. In a really tight game against Republic of Ireland, Phil stepped out from the back and drove from the edge of our box to the edge of their box and got a foul. We scored from the resulting free-kick and won the game 1-0, so he made the difference from that position."