Being forced to deputize as a defender due to injuries, Jermaine Jones made only his third start of season as a midfielder on Saturday night when the New England Revolution faced D.C. United. When asked about moving back to midfield, Jones’ quipped that it’s "the best" while flashing a smile.
Willing to fill-in as a center back, Jones has long said that he desires to play in the midfield. A busy schedule that saw the Revolution play three games in eight days required some roster rotation, which led to Jones making two appearances as a midfielder and one as a center back. The constant shuffling has been challenging for the US international.
"[Midfielder is] the position that I want and what I like to play," Jones told media after Saturday’s 1-1 draw. "I know Kansas City was not my great game but it’s difficult when you switch positions always."
Contributing his first 90-minute performance as a midfielder this year, Jones showed why he’s so coveted in the center of the park. Leading the team with 68 touches, Jones completed 80% of his passes, good for third best among Revolution players who played the whole game. He also had two key passes, which put him equal with Teal Bunbury and Chris Tierney.
The stats only highlight some of Jones’ influence as his leadership, especially after going down to nine men, proved significant.
"They look at maybe that position, at my position, at me and what I do," Jones said of being the elder on a young team. "If I go and show them that we have still a chance then we don’t make it easy for [DC]."
After the match, Jones received praise from head coach Jay Heaps, who said his captain was "excellent," especially when it came to "winning the ball and keeping it and spraying the ball." It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jones had success this weekend as the Designated Player always has a massive effect when playing in his preferred position.
"I feel home in midfield and I want to play midfield," Jones said. "I know that I can help that team more in midfield than as a center back."