Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal hopeful Phil Jones will play for England

by Sam Koster

Louis Van Gaal has spoken of his desire to see Phil Jones play for England this weekend.

The 23-year-old has been working his way back to full fitness having been out of action a number of weeks while recovering from mild thrombosis, but was picked by Roy Hodgson for his squad to face Estonia and Lithuania in England’s European Championship qualifiers in the coming days.

Having already secured their place in Euro 2016 there is no real pressure on England to win in their upcoming games, and van Gaal feels it would also be a good time for Jones to build his fitness too.

“I think it’s always an honour to play for your country,” van Gaal said.

“And, in our build-up of his condition in the games, he needs match rhythm, so I shall be very pleased when he plays for England because that helps him to get minutes for Manchester United. That’s important.”

For the majority of the season Daley Blind has been a solid option alongside Chris Smalling at the heart of United’s defence. However, many United fans would like to see a partnership between Smalling and Jones be built going forward, which was reportedly the intention of Sir Alex Ferguson before he retired.

While Jones is a solid option in defence, it would be foolish to say that he has realised his full potential. The England international need only look at Smalling for inspiration, who has become a vital cog in United’s back line in recent months. For now though, Jones must concentrate on returning to full fitness, and some minutes on the international stage would be the perfect way to aid his recovery.

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