Manchester United defender Phil Jones faces up to eight weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury. Jones suffered the injury in training earlier this week and was sent for a scan which has confirmed he requires an extensive period of rehabilitation. The defender was crocked in training this week and adds to manager Alex Ferguson’s defensive worries as Chris Smalling is also sidelined with a fractured metatarsal. A statement issued by the club read: “Phil Jones has had surgery on a knee meniscus tear sustained in training that will require six to eight weeks’ rehabilitation.” It is desperate news for the 20-year-old, who is yet to make an appearance this season.
He missed United’s opening three Barclays Premier League games and the start of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign, but Jones’ return to training was supposed to be the prelude to his comeback. Now he is out until November and will miss England’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland next month, as well as league games with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. He will also be unavailable for the Red Devils’ opening three Champions League group matches. Even when he has recovered, Jones’ lack of match fitness may prove a significant problem in regaining the form which at one stage saw him compared to Duncan Edwards during an exceptionally encouraging debut campaign following his big-money move from Blackburn in 2011. Meanwhile, United are on the trail of 17-year-old Morocco youth international Hicham Khaloua. But they face competition from Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid for the attacking midfielder, who plays for Almeria. United’s spies watched him hit a hat-trick for the Spanish club’s youth side last week.