Phil Jones has paid to tribute to ‘sporting great’ Wayne Rooney and believes the achievements of his former teammate are ‘under-appreciated’.
Jones played alongside Rooney for club and country during a career that has seen the latter write his name into the history books, winning a wealth of major honours and establishing himself as the all-time record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England.
Rooney first burst onto the scene as a precocious teenage talent at Everton before developing into one of the finest talents in world football, and as the forward plays out the final seasons of a phenomenal career at Derby Country, Jones believing the 34-year-old does not receive the plaudits he deserves.
“He’s a sporting great, not just for Manchester United, but for football itself,” Jones told MUTV. “I think his achievements were overshadowed and under-appreciated a bit.
“I don’t think he got the recognition he should have got considering he was England’s record goalscorer, all the goals he scored for United, and the trophies he won.
“He was unbelievable and when he was doing this for England and United people still questioned him. But I think now people really do appreciate what he did for United and football.”
Rooney is currently employed in a player-coach role at Derby, though Jones is certain he will eventually move into a ‘management’ role once he finally hangs up his boots.
“I had a really good relationship with Wayne,” he added. “When I first signed he helped me a lot and we became good friends.
“Now, if I’ve got something to speak about, he’s someone who I’d like to think I could pick up the phone and speak to. I’m sure he’s going to go into management as well. He’s a great guy and he’s just a normal, hard-working family guy.”