Latics midfielder David Jones says returning to Old Trafford never holds any fears for him after spending his formative years under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.
Jones will be in the Latics squad for next week’s clash against Manchester United and says it is for opposition players to become intimidated by their surroundings when they travel to Old Trafford.
“It’s just eleven versus eleven when it comes to the game, and we know that if we play our game, we can be a match for anyone, as we proved last season. The secret is to treat this just like any other match, prepare in the same way as you always would, and not treat it any different because of who you’re playing or where the game is held.”
Jones was picked up from Wrexham boys team at the age of 10 and spent the next 13 years as a trainee, then a youth team player, and finally a professional.
“When you spend so long somewhere it’s bound to leave a mark, but I see it is as a big positive that I was able to enjoy such a football education. The way they treat young players is fantastic and you learn from the earliest of ages not just great technique but also how to look after your body on and off the field. You really feel a part of the club, even though you are miles away from the first team.”
Jones lifted the FA Youth Cup as a Manchester United player as a 19 year old in 2003 but he says it was his decision to leave Old Trafford.
“I was offered a new contract but I decided it would be best for my future career to seek first team football elsewhere and I have nothing but praise and fond memories of my time at Manchester United. It has made me the footballer I am today.”
Centre-midfielder Jones was competing with the likes of Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Phil Neville, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs so decided to head for Preston North End on loan when the opportunity came about.
But returning to Old Trafford is always a special moment for him. “It’s great seeing the backroom staff and the players I was there with, and I will always shake Sir Alex’s hand if I see him.
“Having said that I will be doing everything I can to get a result for Wigan next Saturday. We showed that we could match them here last April and that will give us a lot of confidence going into the game.”