Manchester United defensive boost – but not in time for the league cup

After missing the first nine games of the season, Manchester United and England centre-back Phil Jones returned to first team training on Friday down at the AoN Training Complex.

Jones is yet to play a game this season after a blood clot in his leg has ruled him out for over seven weeks.

His return comes shortly after United last their stalwart left-back Luke Shaw following a double fracture to his leg in the Champions League.

But unfortunately, United’s Capital One Cup tie with Ipswich Town has come too early says van Gaal.

“Friday was his first training sessions with the team so it is nearly done, but he is not match fit. It is very early.”

The game against the Championship opponents could’ve been the perfect test to earn Phil Jones a place in the side, but he is likely to play for the under-21s before returning to the first team.

After losing Shaw to injury, van Gaal experimented with his back four during this weekends match against Southampton, bringing on Antonio Valencia at half time, and Paddy McNair further in to the game.

The performance at St Mary’s has had it’s critics, with many saying the loss of Shaw has made United’s defence look incredibly wary.

Known for his confidence and strong mentality, Jones’ return may have come at just the right time for his Dutch manager.