Jones reveals "stupid" sock superstition
Manchester United and England youngster Phil Jones has revealed a bizarre pre-match ritual that has accompanied his meteoric rise to stardom.
Jones, who joined United in a £16 million move from Blackburn in July and was recently compared to Franco Baresi by England manager Fabio Capello, has an off-the-wall superstition that means he has to carefully calculate which sock he puts on first before each match.
"This sounds really stupid, but it depends on whether we're home or away," the 19-year-old told Manchester United's official website. "The fixtures list United on the left side when we're at home and on the right when we're away. So this weekend, I'll put my right sock on first, because it will be Swansea v United.
"Next week, if I play against Benfica at Old Trafford, I'll put my left sock on.
"I also don't like stepping on white lines on the pitch. When I do cross a white line, then I'll take the first step with the foot that corresponds to whether we're home or away."
Versatile defender Jones, who played in midfield during England's 1-0 victories over Spain and Sweden during the international break, also revealed his superstitions are not confined to just football stadiums.
"This will sound proper over-the-top, but you know when you go to a hotel room and there are two towels hanging down?" said Jones. "When I was on international duty last week, I picked the towel on the left because we were at home against Spain.
"I know it's weird, but I can't help myself. Nobody knows about it so nobody has ever noticed - although I guess the secret's out now."