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Solskjaer provides update on Jones's Man Utd future after leaving defender out of last four matchday squads

10:57 GMT 11/12/2019
Phil Jones Manchester United 2019-20
The Norwegian boss insists that the centre-half is fully fit and ready to go despite not featuring since last month's draw at Sheffield United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has delivered an update on Phil Jones's future at Manchester United, insisting the defender will "come back" after being dropped from four successive matchday squads.

Jones has not played for the Red Devils since putting in a sub-par display during a 3-3 draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on November 24.

The 27-year-old was handed his first Premier League start of the season against the Blades, but failed to impress in a back three alongside Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire.

Solskjaer opted to leave Jones out of subsequent domestic fixtures against Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester City, as well as a Europa League clash with Astana.

The former England international signed a new contract at Old Trafford back in February, which is set to run until 2023.

However, Jones's future has been called into question in recent months, with Lindelof, Maguire, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe all now ahead of him in the squad pecking order.

Speaking ahead of United's final Europa League group-stage outing at home to AZ on Thursday, Solskjaer addressed the centre-back's recent absence.

The Norwegian told a press conference: "Phil's fit, training well, training hard and I'm sure he'll come back... Phil's fine."

The Red Devils had endured their worst start to a top-flight campaign in 33 years, but signs of improvement were shown against Spurs and City last week.

Solskjaer's men beat Jose Mourinho's Tottenham 2-1 at Old Trafford last Wednesday, before producing a superb display at the Etihad Stadium three days later.

United earned a 2-1 victory over City in the derby thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, extending their unbeaten run against the top six in the process.

With the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea now only at five points, United have been tipped to return to the Champions League if they continue on their current trajectory, but Solskjaer says consistency will be needed to start challenging for major honours once again.

"Of course consistency is vital if you want to win trophies," he said. "This young team need to learn how to put in performances when they don’t feel great.

"You don’t feel great every time you go on the pitch. We’ve had some games when we’ve not been able to perform as well as we like but that’s a learning curve and the young boys will improve over the next couple of years and hopefully the rest of the season.

"We’ve come through a sticky patch in terms of injuries and form."

After their latest European fixture, United will turn their attention back to the Premier League, with Everton set to arrive at Old Trafford on Sunday.