Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Jones ready to stake United claim

SoccerNews in English Premier League 21 Nov 2016

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Phil Jones is ready to put his injury nightmare behind him and focus on becoming a regular starter under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

The central defender has endured a torrid 10 months that has seen him barely feature in competitive action for United due to knee and ankle injuries.

He made his long-awaited return against Swansea City before the international break and completed the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal in the Premier League – his first Old Trafford appearance since January 2.

Jones produced a composed display that was only spoiled by Olivier Giroud’s late leveller for the Gunners, but the 24-year-old was still able to find the positives after an “awful” time on the sidelines.

“It was great, personally, for me,” he told United’s official website. “It’s been a difficult period for me. It is good to be back in the fold and playing again.

“It [being injured] is awful but as a footballer you can’t feel sorry for yourself, go into a little hole and never come out of your home. You have got to go about your day as you would normally, work hard in training and I have worked to get back to where I am now. I want to stay here and I want to play more games.

“I have worked hard on my fitness, it has been tough mentally for me and it has been so frustrating. I can’t put into words how frustrating it has been, but that is behind me and I want to move forward to play as many games as I can.”

Jones revealed he was ready for a first-team return before the trip to the Liberty Stadium on November 6, but had to be patient to ensure he did not suffer a relapse.

He added: “I wanted to make sure that I was 100 per cent right going into the first game. 

“I was fit for a good few weeks before the Swansea game with training, and it was the training that I needed, but you can never replicate the game. Training and games are two different things. 

“The Premier League is so quick and sharp these days. It is games that I need and hopefully I can keep getting them.

“I am ready to play but I think I have also got to look after myself as well and think right. If I do feel something then I am honest, but I am ready, I am fit and ready to play.

“I am just focusing on game to game, playing football, doing what I love doing and I will go from there.”

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