Phil Jones ready to make Manchester United return

by Sam Peoples

Manchester United defender Phil Jones is hopeful of featuring in the Crystal Palace game this weekend after playing 62 minutes for the U21s on Monday night.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a fine runout against Southampton and eventually set up Ashley Fletcher‘s winning goal.

Paddy McNair has been filling in at centre-back while Jones and Marcos Rojo have been injured but Louis van Gaal will be keen to get the Englishman back as soon as possible.

Jones was happy to get some minutes under his belt and insisted he is ready should van Gaal want him against Palace.

Speaking after the Southampton game, Jones said: ”I’m happy to play in the Under-21s and get some fitness. The lads did well. I feel I’m ready to go again and hopefully I can make the squad on Saturday. Hopefully, I’ll recover on Tuesday, then train on Wednesday and Thursday, and see how it goes. I’ll take it from there.

“[As a team], we have got a long way to go as there are still three games coming up, three massive games, and we have got to approach it in the right way. I’m sure we can do that and cement that top-four finish.”

McNair has put in some good performances this season but a club of United’s ambitions cannot afford to be relying on him week in, week out.

Jones has to put these injury issues behind him if he is to become a success at Old Trafford. The best teams are built on a solid, dependable partnership at the heart of defence but Jones hasn’t been in the starting XI consistently enough. United’s coaches will be looking to improve Jones’ fitness when the team goes on the pre-season tour of the United States.

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