Man United Defender Form Bodes Well For England
Well, in theory anyway the form of Phil Jones with Manchester United bodes well for England.
Jones hasn't had to justify his ability for a place in the England squad but his inability to stay fit has been the issue. This has cost him so much football for club and country over the years.
Now fully fit and enjoying a sustained run in the United team he's also gained praise from his manager Jose Mourinho - who admits his form pleasantly surprises him as does Jones' improved conditioning.
Speaking in his conference ahead of the United game with Crystal Palace Mourinho was quoted by Sky Sports as saying:
'I am surprised, because even with me he had injuries that stopped him for a long time. He was recovering first with the people he trusted in medical department. Then for about three weeks before he joined us he worked with my physio.'
'There was a big improvement in condition. Now he looks fresh, sharp, fast, agile and played six matches without a problem. I don't remember when he did that.'
The fact Jones has made less than 150 appearances during his five and a half years at Old Trafford is testament to the injury problems he's had - there's no way a player of his ability should be averaging less than 30 games a season.
If he can retain his fitness and keep his place in the United side it could give England manager Gareth Southgate a pleasant selection dilemma when he names his next squad in the New Year.
Mourinho certainly thinks he can be challenging for a place as Jones seeks to win his first cap since the last of his 20 came against France in November 2015.
The United manager concluded:
'Jones is doing this season much better than in the previous two seasons and he's giving hope to everyone that he can be back to normality. And who knows? Be back to the national team, be a firm choice at Manchester United, because he's doing very well.'
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