Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hails 'diligent and professional' Phil Jones

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hails ‘diligent and professional’ Phil Jones and admits he is ‘SO happy’ for the Man United outcast as he prepares to end injury hell with first game in 19 MONTHS

  • Phil Jones is in the Man United squad to face West Ham on Wednesday night 
  • The defender has not played since January 2020 due to a long-term knee issue
  • He returned to action this season, playing in friendlies and with the reserves 
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Jones’s professionalism through his injury hell 

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Phil Jones for being ‘diligent and professional’ as the defender aims to make his first appearance in 19 months against West Ham.

The 29-year-old has not played for the Red Devils since scoring in a 6-0 FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers in January 2020 due to a long-term meniscal problem in his knee.

Jones returned to action this season, featuring in some behind closed doors friendlies and playing with the club’s reserves again this month.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) confirmed that Phil Jones (right) will be in the squad on Wednesday

But he is now set to make his long-awaited competitive return to the first team when United host the Hammers in the third round of the FA Cup.

Solskjaer expressed his delight on the defender’s recovery and praised his professionalism as he continues his journey back to full fitness.

‘I’m so happy for Phil. He has completed two 90 minutes for the Under-23s and played some minutes behind closed doors and he’s got no reaction on his knee,’ the Red Devils boss told the club’s official website.

‘He’s been working really hard. I’ve been part of that myself and had the best part of three years or at least more than two out of three years and I know what challenges he’s been through, mentally. 

The defender’s last appearance came in January 2020 against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup

‘Thinking will I ever play football again or even be able to walk again and be able to play with the kids in the garden. 

‘He’s been so diligent and so professional; no frills, no social media and I’m old school. I like players like that. 

‘He just focuses on one thing and gets his head around the challenges and he’s back. He will also be in the squad. 

‘It’s a good day for him and for us and it’s something that he has earned.’ 

The United boss praised Jones’s attitude towards his recovery, branding him diligent

Jones recently opened up on his injury hell, revealing this period on the sidelines has left him in tears at times.

He revealed that he has been verbally abused by football fans in the street in front of his daughters, Alaria and Rayah, and has been left in tears with his wife Kayah after his injury problems left him feeling like ‘an awful dad’. 

‘It was the lowest I’ve ever been as a human being,’ Jones told The Times. ‘I used to come back (from United’s training ground) and be in bits. 

Jones revealed earlier this month that his period on the sidelines had left him in tears at times

He has been out of action for 19 months with a long-term meniscal issue in his knee

‘My head was an absolute mess. I’d be in tears. I’d say to Kaya, “I don’t know what to do.” I remember us both crying.

‘There were many times I felt an awful dad. You’re trying to give your kids your energy but you can’t. 

‘Listen, you’ve got daughters, if your daughter tells you you’re dressing up as a princess, you’re dressing up as a princess, but I just wasn’t there, wasn’t present in the moment. I’d be on my phone or miles away.

Jones is now back training with Man United and has played for the club’s reserve team

‘I’m not scared of saying any of this. People and footballers, they’ll put on a front that everything’s all right, but you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.’ 

Jones revealed that he has been struggling with knee problems for the best part of a decade, after having surgery on his knee aged 20 having just played for England at Euro 2012. 


The problem subsided for four years until he started feeling more pain in 2016, when Jose Mourinho has manager at Old Trafford. After the January 2020 injury, Jones was set to return after the first coronavirus lockdown but a setback in May saw him go back into surgery in Barcelona, but further lockdowns slowed down his return.

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