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League Cup gamble, Man United defender Jones to return after 20-month absence




 Manchester United defender Phil Jones will return to the squad for Wednesday’s (Sept 22) League Cup match against West Ham United following a 20-month injury layoff, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

Jones has not played for the club since scoring in their FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers in January 2020, because of a serious knee issue for which he underwent an operation last summer.

“I’m so happy for Phil,” Solskjaer told the club website. “He has completed two 90 minutes (games) for the Under-23s, played some minutes behind closed doors and he’s got no reaction on his knee. He’s been working really hard.

“He will be in the squad. It’s a good day for him and for us, and it’s something that he has earned.

“I know what challenges he’s been through, mentally, 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’.”

England international Jones, who has played more than 200 games in all competitions for the club, said last weekend he had been “through hell and back” as he struggled with injuries.


Midfielder Jesse Lingard, who scored a late winner in last weekend’s dramatic 2-1 Premier League victory at West Ham, would start in Wednesday’s match, while defender Alex Telles will also be involved as he returns after recovering from an ankle injury


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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