Manchester United defender Phil Jones has followed in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs by taking up yoga in a bid to put a stop to the amount of injuries he has suffered at Old Trafford.
Jones returned to the team on Sunday after missing two months with shin splints and had only managed one game before that appearance due a hamstring injury picked up on international duty.
Hamstring problems caused issues for current assistant manager Ryan Giggs during his time at the club and Jones has found a similar remedy by taking up yoga and pilates classes.
Since the defender arrived from Blackburn in 2011 his time at the club has been dogged by injuries and with fellow defenders Rafael, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans also injury-prone, Jones will be looking to give Louis van Gaal every reason not to let him go at the end of the season.
It’s no secret that the club will be looking at defenders and if Jones and co can’t keep fit on a regular basis, Van Gaal will see no reason to keep them on come at the end of the season.
“I started the pre-season and played every single game and every single training session,” said Jones.
“Then on international duty, I pulled my hamstring and I have never had a muscle injury in my life so it was disappointing.
“When I was coming back I then had shin splints. I didn’t go into training and say I wanted to get injured that morning, it is just the way it has been. It has been unfortunate.
“I have been doing a lot of work in the gym and hopefully that will stand me in good stead for the rest of the season. I have been doing strength work and yoga and pilates. Loads of stuff. I will do anything I can to improve myself.
“I could stand here and list 10 players who are always out injured, that is just the nature of football. People don’t wake up one morning and say I fancy being injured today, it is just the way it is.
“My aim right now is to stay fit and stay focused and get a run of games under my belt.
“Hopefully I can stay fit, look after myself in games and make sure I stay fit.”
The manager was assured in the summer by his sport science team that Jones, Evans and Smalling would experience their ‘most available’ season to date but if anything, the situation is now at its worst in years.
But with Jones and Evans back from injury and Marcos Rojo and Smalling expected to return soon, van Gaal will hope this is the end of the crisis.