England manager Fabio Capello has indicated that Manchester United defender Phil Jones will start in midfield against Spain on Saturday. The 19-year-old made his senior debut for the Three Lions last month at right-back during a Euro 2012 qualifier versus Montenegro. Jones has mostly featured at either center-back or right-back this season for United but he has a recent history of featuring in midfield. Last season for Blackburn Rovers, Jones played the majority of his matches in a holding role. For United's match versus Liverpool this season, he was deployed in central midfield at Anfield.
Capello has also said that Chelsa FC's Frank Lampard will captain England for the highly anticipated Spain friendly at Wembley. Thus, Jones and Lampard will be the pairing in the center of the pitch. Recognized England captain John Terry will captain the side on Tuesday when England face Sweden at Wembley as well in another friendly.
Spain not only are the current European and world champions, but they also undoubtedly boast the best midfield in the world. Along with the FC Barcelona quartet of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, and Cesc Fabregas, they also have the likes of David Silva, Juan Mata, Xabi Alonso, and Santi Cazorla. This will be quite the challenge for United's youngster. Perhaps this portends a future match-up in the midfield if United face Barcelona again in Champions League play this season.
Here is what Jones had to say about his upcoming assignment for England:
"I think centre-back is my more natural position. That is where I grew up playing. But I think I am more than adequate playing at right-back and central midfield as well. I have played central midfield for Blackburn for a full season so I know where to be. I am looking forward to it. Xavi and Iniesta are fantastic players. We all know that but they are only human . Everyone can make mistakes if you get in amongst them. We'll see. United signed me as a centre-back, that is the position they had seen me in and that is the position they wanted me to play in. During pre-season, I played right-back and central midfield a few times so they saw me playing there and knew I could do a job so I have been asked to play there on a number of occasions now."
* A full list of Manchester United players scheduled to be in action over the international break.