Phil Jones refuses to curb tackling style

Phil Jones has no intention of curbing his all-action style despite enduring a nightmare run of injuries.

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The Manchester United defender made his first appearance of the season in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Galatasaray.

A pre-season campaign halted before it had even begun due to a back injury left Jones short of fitness even before he suffered a knee problem in training at the beginning of September that condemned him to another 10 weeks on the sidelines.

As Jones' presence in the United side during the second half of last season had been limited due to a succession of niggles, it has not been a particularly fulfilling 2012 for the former Blackburn man.

But that does not mean Jones is willing to go against his natural instincts in order to save himself further damage in the future.

"That is just my game," said the 20-year-old.

"I am not going to pull out of a tackle for nothing. If it means getting injured, so be it.

"I have been in the gym and done a lot of strengthening and conditioning work. Hopefully that will stand me in good stead."

Jones' injury problems have rather taken the edge off what had been an outstanding start to his United career.

So impressed were seasoned Red Devils observers with Jones' contribution that he was likened to Duncan Edwards, who has assumed mythical status since he was amongst those killed in the Munich air crash, an England regular aged just 21.

"It has been very difficult," said Jones.

"I was in and out of the team in the second half of the season.

"I couldn't get a run of games together, which was down to the fact I was getting little niggles.

"It meant I couldn't get match fit. Then I picked up some pretty horrid injuries.

"It has not been the best five or six months for me but I am delighted to be back and hopefully I can stake a claim for the team again."

Jones' return is particularly well timed.

With skipper Nemanja Vidic determined not to return too quickly from a similar knee operation, which itself followed cruciate surgery last December, Jonny Evans presently sidelined with a groin complaint and Chris Smalling still feeling his way back from a broken metatarsal, Jones' versatility could be very useful indeed.

"I am sick and tired of watching the lads on TV when I have been injured," he said.

"I am buzzing to be back.

"It is going to take time but once I get a few more training sessions in, play a few more games and get back into the swing of things it will be fine.

"I am fit and ready to play when called upon. Hopefully I can stake a claim to get back into the team."

Jones will certainly have some involvement on Saturday when United entertain crisis club QPR.

Though most of the focus will be on Rangers manager Mark Hughes, whose team are rock bottom of the Premier League, United's need for points is equally pressing after their shock defeat at Norwich on Saturday.

Indeed, following last night's setback, United are looking at their first hat-trick of losses since the final three matches of the 2000-01 campaign, when the title had been won anyway.

"I have played in two games in a row now and we have lost them both," said keeper Anders Lindegaard, whose place is likely to go to David de Gea amidst a host of changes.

"It's very hard to find smiles about anything or a positive side.

"We have an important game on Saturday against QPR and need to get back on track."



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