Ole on Jones: I want him back
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shared his sympathy with injury-plagued defender Phil Jones.
The United boss faced the media for his pre-match press conference before Tuesday evening's encounter against Southampton and, in the first half of his briefing, he was asked about the future of Jones.
The central defender, who has played 224 times for the club since signing in 2011, hasn't featured since an operation in the summer and will once again be sidelined, although the boss did provide an update on his projected comeback.
Ole's press conference: Part twoVideo
Despite a solid spell at the heart of the defence when Solskjaer first took over the managerial job, Jones featured just eight times for United in 2019/20 and hasn't been seen in a red shirt since scoring in a 6-0 FA Cup victory over Tranmere last January due to his fitness issues.
“It’s disheartening, it’s the worst thing for a footballer,” Ole said about the 28-year-old's injury record.
“When you've got injuries, it can take your passion away, your chance to play football away. He’s a top footballer, he was in the World Cup squad two years back. He was brilliant when I came him.”
Alongside his footballing abilities and his uncompromising defending, the Reds manager went on to praise the England international’s personality.
“I wish him back into the squad as quick as I can,” Ole said.
“He’s a solid citizen and one of those you can trust. He’s working very hard to get back. For us, and for himself.”
Ole himself knows full well what it's like to be out with long-term injuries, with a knee problem ultimately contributing to his retirement in 2007, after a couple of shortened campaigns.
“I’ve been through bad injuries myself and it might take your belief away and your enjoyment away,” the Norwegian shared with the media.
However, the boss is hopeful Jones can return to first-team action soon and he is excited to have him back.
“He’s been working so hard to get back, [he's] had a couple of set-backs but hopefully we can get some good use [out of him].”