Soccer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offers hope to Man Utd’s forgotten man after squad U-turn

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has offered a lifeline to Phil Jones after he was included in Manchester United's Premier League squad.

It has been a tough season for the centre-back, who has been ruled out of action since June through a knee injury.

His time at Old Trafford has been fraught with fitness problems and defensive errors.

It has been over a year since Jones last played for the Red Devils and had become a forgotten man at the club.

But Solskjaer has high hopes that the 28-year-old can rediscover his best form.

There was a short period of confidence for Jones, initially when Solskjaer joined as manager, after appearing in every match of his eight-game winning streak when the Norwegian first arrived.

However, the former Blackburn star made just two appearances in the league last season – making eight overall.

The signs point to a transfer away with Burnley and West Ham interested in his services over the course of the season.

A deal was not pulled off in the January transfer window, though, with the market shutting on Monday night.

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And Jones has since been re-added to the Premier League squad at Old Trafford after missing out earlier in the campaign.

It would take a miracle for the England international to reassert himself as a first-choice option at United this season.

But Solskjaer has faith Jones can make the best of the rest of the year.

"It’s disheartening. It’s the worst thing for a football player," the Red Devils coach said.

"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 want him back into the squad as quick as I can.

"He’s a very solid citizen and he is one of those that you can trust and he is working really hard to get back and not just for us, for himself.

"I have been through bad injuries yourself and it might take your belief away and your enjoyment away. And he has been working so hard to get back.

"He’s had a couple of setbacks, but hopefully we can get some news."

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