Manchester United have placed Phil Jones inside a Zorb Ball to ensure the defender complies with the UK government’s guidelines on non-contact training.
Jones, renowned for his robustness on the field, will remain inside the flexible plastic sphere until elite athletes are permitted to return to contact training.
A United statement said: ‘In the best interests of our other players, Phil Jones will complete all non-contact training sessions inside a Zorb Ball’.
‘Phil spent the morning at Carrington familiarising himself with his new spherical home and took to it like a new-born fawn on a frozen lake’.
However, one club source told us that encasing the 28-year-old in an inflatable ball didn’t stop him from wreaking havoc in training.
‘The sight of Phil rolling down the pitch inside the Zorb was reminiscent of the giant boulder scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark’, according to the source.
‘After gathering some momentum, Phil lost control of the sphere and went careering into a group of players’.
‘Jesse Lingard and Bruno Fernandes were sent into the air like two malnourished pins struck by a bowling ball from hell’.
‘Then he rolled over the top of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who had to be dug out of the grass by ground staff’.
It’s understood that after losing complete control of the sphere, Jones rolled right out of United’s training complex and along the Carrington Spur road.
The 27-cap England man finally stopped when the Zorb collided with a barrier at the side of the road and burst.
Videos of Jones bounding along the road appeared on social media this afternoon, with one person Tweeting: ‘Excellent ball control from the big man as usual’.
Meanwhile, Premier League chiefs are watching United’s initiative with interest, with a view to restarting the league with players in full Zorbing equipment should all other alternatives fail.
‘Zorbing? Why not? I wouldn’t rule anything out – except handing back that f**king TV money’, cackled CEO Richard Masters while backstroking across a bank vault filled with gold coins.