PHIL JONES has had the door opened to restart his Manchester United career after a ‘disheartening’ year.
Jones' last appearance came just over 12 months ago and he was not even registered on the squad list at the start of this season.
Now, after a long road back from knee surgery, he has been made eligible to play again by manager Ole Solskjaer, whose latter years of his own career were blighted by injury.
United boss Solskjaer said: "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."
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Centre-back Jones is still only 28 and has made 224 appearances for United as well as earning 27 England caps.
Sir Alex Ferguson once said Jones would go on to be the best player ever at Manchester United.
Speaking in 2013 Ferguson said: "Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player.
"I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, not matter where we play him. At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch.
"He has such a massive influence, with his instinct and reading of the game. He has a drive about him.”
Jones has won one Premier League, an FA Cup and the Europa League.
His last game was on January 26, 2020 when he scored in a 6-0 FA Cup win over Tranmere.
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