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Manchester United defender’s performance gives England a boost

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Phil Jones

Manchester United’s 4-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday featured a host of impressive performances, with the likes of Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku amongst the players rightly praised for their displays.

However, one player whose performance went under the radar somewhat was defender Phil Jones.

Playing in his favoured centre-back role Jones was an assured figure alongside Eric Bailly, providing a solid platform for United to run riot against the Hammers.

Jones has struggled to have the impact many people thought he was capable of at Old Trafford, but Jose Mourinho could be the man to finally unlock his undoubted talent.

The 25-year-old has made 168 appearances for United in all competitions, yet the feeling remains his best years are still ahead of him.

Once tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson as having the ability to be the club’s greatest-ever player, injuries have halted Jones’ progress.

A feature of Mourinho’s teams has been his ability to build solid defensive units, with the likes of Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea all difficult to beat under his management.

Jones faces plenty of competition for his place this season with Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo all in the mix, but his performance against West Ham has certainly seen him stake his case for a regular start.

If Jones can cement his place in United’s defence he could also give England manager Gareth Southgate a welcome selection headache.

With the ability to adapt to roles in a back four or a three-man defence, Jones could become a key member of England’s squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Avoiding injury will be crucial if Jones is to fulfil his potential, but Sunday’s performance highlighted his capabilities.

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