Who is David Jones? – a Profile

Who is David Jones? A midfielder in Wolverhampton Wanderers? Yes. The man that scored our winning goal against Tottenham? Yes and bless him! But even if he has played in Wolves for almost two seasons now I felt that I didn’t really know the answer to that question. So I made a (re-) search about him to find out more.

David Frank Llwyd Jones was born in Southport 25 years ago and was a talented and keen footballer at a very young age. When only ten he joined the Manchester United youth programme. Jones made a statement about that to the Derbyshire Evening Telegraph a couple of years ago after leaving the club:

It was definitely the right decision to join Manchester United when I was 10 because you learn so much. My education there was brilliant and I definitely wouldn’t have changed it. You get the best coaching and the mentality of a massive club helps you perform. The standards set all through the age groups gives you a good grounding as a player and a person.”

When he was fifteen he joined the United under-17 side and after the first season he signed an apprentice contract for the club in the summer of 2001. Already the next season he was playing with their under-19 side.

In the season of 2002-3 he was made captain of the under-19’s and they made it to the finals of the FA Youth Cup. They played ‘Boro in the finals and after winning the second leg at Old Trafford it was David Jones that had the honour of lifting the Cup to the sky.

Next year he was playing in the United Reserves team and became a regular player on the midfield. Great hopes and expectations were bestowed upon him as a future player in the first team. In 2003-4 he played his first senior team match in the League Cup for Manchester United in a win against Arsenal. He also played full time in an FA Cup draw against Exeter.

In March he played his first and only England Under-19 match against Sweden. He came in as a substitute in the second half. It is reported that Ryan Giggs – Wales captain at the time – tried to persuade Jones to play for Wales as he is qualified for that – but apparently without results.

He continued in the Reserves and lifted the National Cup for them. But it was of course hard to break into the first team of Manchester United – and with players like Roy Keane and Paul Scholes playing at his position almost impossible – so he went out on loan.

He went on-loan to Preston for the 2005-6 season to gain first-team experience. He soon established himself as a regular for the Championship side, making 24 appearances and scoring three goals.

The following season he joined NEC Nijmegen in Holland. He made 17 appearances for them, scoring seven goals. A couple of them were beautiful long distance goals. He became second in the contest for Man of the Year in the Dutch club.

He went home to Manchester again after his success season in Holland looking to play some first team football, but now they had signed Michael Carrick for £14m. to play in ‘his’ position and he did not want to play only Reserves and League Cup games, so he joined Derby – first on loan then permanently. Jones at the time:

They (United) offered me a three-year contract last summer but I didn’t sign it because I’ve seen a lot of players stay at Manchester United too long. I got to a stage where I needed to be playing every week.

Derby was a top-team in the Championships and Jones started very well in the club. Sir Alex Ferguson said in an interview that he had sold Jones too cheaply to the Rams (£1m.) and the fans were very critical of letting him go.

Everyone’s waiting for Ferguson to comment and explain why one of Manchester United’s most promising young talents is being shipping out. Bottom line – was Jones good enough to play for Manchester United? (…) The sad bit is, we’ll never know now. He wasn’t given the chance, and whenever he was played (cup games) Manchester United were so godawful that no one escaped with any credit. Granted, the decision was made on the training ground and if Jones is not of the same calibre as Scholes and Carrick, then United don’t need another squad player like Fletcher. But without being given a decent chance?” (Soccerlens)

Steve Claridge in the Guardian had a very favourable – and I believe accurate – portrait of Jones at the time (April 2007):

“I like the simple things he does on the pitch, always brought on by an awareness of what is around him. This is a player who has a little look up before receiving his pass and, having clocked the situation, knows exactly what space is available for him to exploit.”

“It is an awareness that is second to none. Easy to read as a forward, he hooked the ball on in tight situations but with real quality, turning his opponents’ defence and giving his forward something to chase. That’s not to say he didn’t also get the ball down and play, which he does with great gusto. His first thought is always to look forward and probe openings whenever possible. As with all left-footers, he looked the part. In a side who rarely lose when they go ahead, he offered the balance that is so vital, even from the central area, with that lovely left foot of his.”

“Jones is a fantastic judge of the long ball played from defence which bypasses his fellow midfielders to arrive straight with the lads up front. He is quick to determine whether or not to support the forward if the ball is not the best, or to break past him if his team-mate can get good control. While he did his defensive duties, I’d like to see him really break his neck to get back rather because he has to do it. (…)”

“He’s deceptively strong and rarely loses possession. Indeed, he breaks forward well, rarely wasting energy…”

But Jones was dropped from the first team of Derby at the end of their promotion winning season, and he didn’t get much playing time in the Premier League either. He played only 15 appearances from start – most of them when Derby already were doomed to go down.

Mick McCarthy picked David Jones up from a Derby team smashed and left in pieces for £1.2m in the summer of 2008. He had very high hopes for the young midfielder and there were many words about him not been giving a fair chance at Derby. Perhaps because he didn’t suit their way of play or maybe the manager just didn’t rate him.

In Wolves at Championship level he quickly gained status as a regular and he scored some important goals with his sensitive left foot. Then he became injured and did not manage to break into the team again until the end of season. Many supporters were criticising Mick McCarthy for not playing David Jones earlier on in the second half of last season. But Wolves gained promotion as Championship winners and everything was forgiven and forgotten.

When Wolves deservedly came back to the Premier League many had high hopes for David Jones, as he was one of only a few players with Premier League experience. But sadly he suffered many injury problems and set backs in the beginning of the season and it is not until the last few games that he has regained his strength and match fitness.

In the last match he made proof of that by not only scoring but making the goal that secured Wolves win against Tottenham Hotspurs. David Jones to the Official Wolves site today:

My goal was a good team goal, there were 18 or 19 passes before I finished it off. But we did pass it around, especially in the first half and the goal demonstrated that. We battled well and they didn’t really have too many chances, we limited them. We have got a great team spirit.”

I very much believe that managers don’t rate Jones when it’s about to promote the defensive work of a team. Many teams can not afford to have a player like Jones in the midfield. They need two inner midfielders whose strength is to work defensively as a first priority.

But when playing with five midfielders Jones is the perfect choice for a team that wants to have options going forward and combining with the wingers and the lone striker. We saw that against Tottenham and hopefully we will have the opportunity to see it many more times this season and seasons to come. David Jones is a very good footballer – if and when he gets the chance to show it!


P.S. Edwards and Hennessey, you have a job to do. You must persuade Jones to play for Wales! D.S.

David Jones after scoring his first goal for Wolves in the Premier League


~ by paddytheflea on February 12, 2010.

4 Responses to “Who is David Jones? – a Profile”

  1. His quality the last two games has been terrific. Let’s hope he can continue to deliver quality football for Wolves consistently.
    It must be hard to do so after such a long period of injury.

  2. NOt really relating to the article.. but what happened when Geoffrey was supposed to subbed on then Miljas came on instead? It sounded like Geoff wasn’t ready on the radio!

  3. […] (You can read a longer presentation of David Jones HERE) […]

  4. […] wrote a profile about Dave Jones some time ago. You can read it HERE. And a little more about him at Manchester United HERE and a stats comparison between Jones and […]

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