25/05/2013 08:13, Report by Adam Marshall
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Jones' pre-season aim

Phil Jones has stressed the importance of getting a full pre-season under his belt as he looks ahead to going on tour with Manchester United.

The England international is in Roy Hodgson's squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Republic of Ireland (Wednesday) and Brazil (next Sunday, 2 June) and is determined to work hard when he returns to work with the Reds following the summer break.

Injury hampered his progress at the start of last term before he ended the campaign strongly and became something of a regular starter in the final United sides selected by Sir Alex Ferguson.

When asked by Inside United if he was focusing on going on the club's July tour of Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, the versatile defender replied: "Definitely. That's important for me for the next season coming up.

"I think I've only had one pre-season and that was in my first season here so it's important I get a full pre-season under my belt. I need to get fitter and stronger and mentally prepare myself for what will be another tough season again." There was some talk that Jones would be considered for England's Under-21 European Championship squad as he is still eligible for that level. However, the former Blackburn youngster is now considered part of the senior set-up and can look back fondly on his appearance in the finals a couple of years ago.

Although Jones impressed alongside Chris Smalling on a personal level at the heart of the defence, Stuart Pearce's side bowed out in the group stages when Czech Republic scored twice late on to steal second spot in the table. Danny Welbeck netted both of his country's goals, including the equaliser against eventual winners Spain.

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