Pundit questions Solskjaer’s decision to start 27-year-old for Man United

Martin Keown didn't agree with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's decision to start Phil Jones in Man United's 3-3 draw with Sheffield United

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
Martin Keown
Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown (Photo: BT Sport)

Martin Keown has questioned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to start Phil Jones in Manchester United’s 3-3 draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday afternoon.

The England international started as part of a Manchester United back three alongside Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof for the club’s visit to Bramall Lane.

The 27-year-old was at fault for Sheffield United’s opening goal as he misjudged a long ball in the lead-up to John Fleck’s strike in the 19th minute.

Jones was hauled off at half-time for Jesse Lingard as Solskjaer switched to a back four in the second half.

Manchester United conceded seven minutes into the second half to leave Solskjaer’s side contemplating a second successive Premier League defeat on the road.

However, three goals in seven minutes from Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford appeared to have secure Manchester United three points at Sheffield United.

But there was still time for late drama when Oliver McBurnie netted an equaliser in the 90th minute to spoil Manchester United’s impressive comeback.

Former Arsenal defender Keown questioned Solskjaer’s decision to start Jones in the first place.

“Jones always looked problematic in that back line, then he was at fault for the opening goal,” Keown is quoted as saying by Metro.

“Instead of pumping the ball into row Z — like he should have done — he allowed Lys Mousset to take it off him. No defender should let that happen or even take the chance. Maybe there was a hint of a foul, but Jones needed to be more dominant, more assertive, more clever.

“I’m surprised Solskjaer opted for three at the back in the first place. Maybe he wanted to match up with the hosts, but it only created confusion.

“The man he shoehorned into the team made a mistake and it left United chasing the game. I saw a different side in the second half and the kids salvaged something for Solskjaer.

“For the neutral, this was a great spectacle but what a day to forget for Jones on his first Premier League start this season.”

Manchester United are in ninth position in the Premier League table and nine points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC in the hunt to secure a Champions League spot.

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