• Premier League

United face nervous wait for injury-plagued Jones

ESPN staff
October 27, 2014
Phil Jones has struggled with injuries at Manchester United © Getty Images

Manchester United face an uncertain wait to discover how long Phil Jones will be out for but are confident that Radamel Falcao will be available for Sunday's derby against Manchester City.

Defender Jones and striker Falcao both missed the 1-1 draw against Chelsea and the England international, who is suffering from shin splints, is a particular concern for manager Louis van Gaal.

The former Blackburn player has only made one appearance since recovering from a hamstring injury that had ruled him out for a month earlier this season.

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Louis van Gaal was happy with a point against Chelsea - but should he be? © Getty Images
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Jones has struggled to stay fit during his three years at Old Trafford but had been expected to start against Chelsea before being hurt in training.

Van Gaal told MUTV: "The match against West Brom was his first after a long injury period. We brought him back and he trained for more than a week with the first team, then had to play 90 minutes.

"Then he had a sore feeling in his shin. On Saturday he could not continue training, even though it was a very light session before the match. He had shin splints, which is very painful. I don't know how long it will take [for him to recover]."

Jones' absence means United have three centre-backs on the injured list, with Jonny Evans and 19-year-old Paddy McNair also unfit to face Chelsea, although both are expected to return to contention soon.

Chris Smalling replaced Jones in the side against the league leaders as he and Marcos Rojo became United's seventh central-defensive combination of the season.

Forward Falcao, who had only been used as a replacement in the 2-2 draw against West Brom, was expected to miss the Chelsea game.

But Van Gaal suggested the on-loan Monaco played, who has only scored one goal in his five appearances for United, could be fit for the game against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

He said: "Falcao took a kick in training on Thursday and couldn't play because of that. We'll have to wait and see, but I don't think the injury is too bad, today's match came too soon for him."

Meanwhile young striker James Wilson has revealed that Van Gaal persuaded him to change his shirt number from 47 to 49 this season.

He told MUTV: "As I'm a striker, the gaffer wanted me to have a nine in my number, and 49 was the closest."

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