Statistically, Phil Jones is the best U23 centre-back in Europe
One reason why statistics can be misleading
Manchester United youngster Phil Jones has statistically been deemed the best defender in Europe under the age of 23. Although the player has not been the best defender in the United team form wise, he has been named the best centre back by Swiss number crunchers.
Analysis from CIES Football Observatory of players in the top five European leagues under the age of 23 has helped compile a list of best players using a series of performance indicators such as recovery, distribution and rigour.
From the list, the 23-year old is surprisingly above highly rated young defenders like Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez. The player has previously been compared to the likes of Franco Baresi and Duncan Edwards, but recurring injuries have hindered his progress at United.
Jones was extremely lucky to make the list, as the players needed to have featured in at least 50% of teams overall league minutes, and Jones crossed the line with just 51% of United’s game time.
The list featured two more defenders from the Premier League, and both the players are just as surprising as their predecessor. The other two players who made the list are Burnley's Michael Keane and Aston Villa’s Jores Okore who hold the eighth and ninth position respectively.