After news emerged last week that Luke Shaw was nearing a return to fitness, another Manchester United defender is set to return to action for the Under-21 side this evening.
Phil Jones, who last played for Louis van Gaal’s side in the 2-1 win against Swansea at Old Trafford, is hoping to play some part in the reserve fixture against Chelsea tonight at the same venue, according to a report in today’s Manchester Evening News.
After three months out with an ankle injury, the 24 year old England international is desperate to return to action as soon as possible.
In all, he has started only seven matches in a season that has been heavily disrupted.
Van Gaal gave an update on Jones’s condition in his pre-Everton press conference on Friday, saying:
“Phil Jones is fit to play in the second team.”
Jones will be hoping that under-21 boss Warren Joyce is in agreement with van Gaal and select the £16m defender in tonight’s match.
Jones anticipates returning to play a significant role in the remainder of Manchester United’s season – with a challenge for fourth place and the FA Cup still to play for, the battle is far from over yet.
Looking further ahead than that, Jones will be striving to be a part of Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 plans with England. The ex-Blackburn defender has been a valued member of Hodgon’s squad – being named in the 23-man parties for both Euro 2012 and the World Cup in 2014 – but faces strong competition for a place in the travelling party flying to France in June.
After a campaign ravaged by injury, Jones will undoubtedly be aiming to show that the worst is behind him as his side embark on a pivotal part of the Premier League season.
If nothing else, Manchester United fans should be looking forward to more of this…