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Phil Jones has been offered hope that he may yet have a Manchester United future, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaving a door open for the injury-ravaged defender after 12 “disheartening” months on the sidelines.
He has not figured at all since starting and scoring in an FA Cup clash with Tranmere, with a serious knee problem keeping the 28-year-old stuck on the treatment table.
Jones was already struggling for game time at that point, with the likes of Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof providing fierce competition for places at Old Trafford.
Just eight outings were seen in the 2019-20 campaign before having to undergo surgery, with no minutes taken in this term after plodding down a long road to recovery.
Solskjaer feels for the long-serving centre-half, who has been with United since 2011, and says there could still be a role for him in his plans if a return to fill fitness and form can be made.
The Red Devils boss has told reporters of Jones ahead of a Premier League outing for his side against Southampton on Tuesday: “It’s disheartening. It’s the worst thing for a football player.
“When you have injuries that take your passion away and take your chance to play football away.
“Phil has been a top centre-back and was in the World Cup squad two years back.
“He was brilliant when I came in so I wish him back into the squad as quick as I can.
“I have been through bad injuries and it might take your belief away and your enjoyment away.
“He has been working so hard to get back. He’s had a couple of setbacks, but hopefully we can get some news.
“He will be included on the list and hopefully he'll get his fitness back sooner rather than later and be available to play.”