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The former Blackburn centre-back wants to be fully prepared for what he admits will be a "tough season" next year, while he also gave encouragement to the England youth team

Manchester United defender Phil Jones wants to enjoy a full pre-season ahead of next season's attempt to defend their Premier League title.

The England international is set to feature in Roy Hodgson's squad for the forthcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, before going on Manchester United's tour of South East Asia.

The former Blackburn centre-back, who struggled with injury early in the season, insists a productive pre-season is a necessity - something he has rarely experienced in his career so far.

"That's [the pre-season] important for me for the next season coming up. I think I've only had one pre-season and that was in my first season here so it's important I get a full pre-season under my belt," he told Manchester United's official website.

"I need to get fitter and stronger and mentally prepare myself for what will be another tough season again."

Jones also spoke fondly of his experience in the Under-21 European Championships ahead of the competition's return this year, wishing his former team-mates the best of luck.

"It was a great experience in the Under-21s and I loved every minute of it," he continued.

"It's a fantastic tournament but we didn't do too well in it. We still had some great players and hopefully they will go on and win it this year."

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