Manchester United defender Phil Jones made his return to the side during the 3-0 victory over Ipswich Town in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
Jones came on for Chris Smalling after 70 minutes to make his first appearance for Man United this season after suffering thrombosis in his right calf before the start of the campaign.
The Englishman has struggled with injuries for the past few seasons now and it was a major blow to United when he was ruled out for more than a month before the first league game against Tottenham Hotspur. After Louis van Gaal chose not to invest in a new central defender this summer, Jones would have been expected to play a major role this year.
However, now that he has made his comeback, the 23-year-old will want to push on and stake a claim for a regular place in the side. Despite coming on for Smalling in the second half, Jones will know he was his work cut out for him if he is to regain a starting spot.
Another good result! Was Great to get some minutes behind me! Feels good to be back! #MUFC ⚽️🔴
— Phil Jones (@PhilJones4) September 23, 2015
Both Smalling and Daley Blind have been impressive for United thus far and it is doubtful that Louis van Gaal will want to break up their partnership. It is still uncertain whether either Marcos Rojo or Paddy McNair will be available for Sunderland’s visit to Old Trafford, however. This could mean that Jones, who was not fully fit against Ipswich, is thrust straight back into the starting lineup.
Blind may have to cover for Rojo at left-back, resulting in Jones slotting in alongside Smalling to take on the Black Cats on Saturday. The 20 minutes he played today will definitely help his case to play against Sunderland, as he has been training for almost a week already. Jones will hope that his performance in the League Cup has helped him gain some important match fitness and, knowing him, he will be raring to go in just three days time.