Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for new signing Phil Jones after his performance in Manchester United’s 4-0 defeat of the MLS All-Stars which continues a successful pre-season tour of the USA.

Jones is a central defender by nature, but Ferguson says that the England Under 21 international’s ability to play in the midfield as well will make him a top value signing for the £16 million fee United paid for the youngster in June.

"At 19 years of age he's very versatile," Ferguson told reporters. "He's mobile, he's determined and last season he played quite a few games for Blackburn in the centre of midfield.

"We thought we'd try him at right back [in the MLS match]. It's something we can keep as an option for us. [Chris] Smalling has also played there two or three times now. With the experience our centre backs have, its a very good option for us."

Jones is part of a massive £60 million push by Ferguson to rebuild his side with fresh talent and keep pushing for trophies. Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea and Aston Villa winger Ashley Young are also making appearances in United shirts for the first time on the pre-season tour.

Ferguson insisted that while the results in games in the tour are not so important, the more match time the players get, the fitter they’ll become the opening Barclays Premier League match against West Brom on August 14.

"The fitness is improving all the time, the games help with that, of course," Ferguson said. "We've had some good training sessions as well and we've tried to get tempo into our game and some rhythm.




 

"It's also important all the players are given as much game time as possible. Tonight was the first time we gave the starters a good hour's work. Saturday [against Barcelona in Washington DC] will be similar - the first XI that play will get an hour before we change it."

Meanwhile, Inter Milan chief executive Ernesto Paolillo insists the Italian club has received no approach from Manchester United for Wesley Sneijder, despite continued links with a switch to Old Trafford.

Paolillo has not ruled out a sale, if the price is right, and says: "Are Manchester United still after Sneijder? We haven't seen or heard from anyone; that's a story I've heard from you.

"Is Wesley definitely not for sale? I don't think there's anything that can't be sold, it all depends on the price. You never say no if a big opportunity comes your way, but it does have to be a real opportunity."

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