Sir Alex Ferguson is firm in the belief that Manchester United defender Phil Jones will one day adorn the captain's armband of the 19-time league champions.

Jones joined United from Blackburn Rovers for £17 million in the summer of last year, and has impressed all and sundry during his first season at Old Trafford.

The 20-year-old has made 34 appearances for United this term, and his composure and maturity suggest he possesses the credentials to be made skipper at some point in the future.

Ferguson certainly feels that this is the case, and says he formed the opinion that Jones is captaincy material the moment he signed for the club.

"He’s definitely a future captain," the United boss told the club's official website.

"There’s no doubt about that. I said that from the minute he came to us that I thought there was something about the boy."

Jones' recent progress, however, has been stalled by a succession of injuries, while he also missed the recent matches against Athletic Bilbao and Wolves through illness.

Ferguson hopes he can now have the England international fully fit for the remainder of the season, as United look to retain the Premier League.

"He was doing great until he started getting all these injuries and a bit of illness with 'flu," he added. "That kind of thing has derailed his time with us as he and Chris Smalling have had a nightmare, the two of them.

"If they can stay fit for the rest of the season, it'll be a big bonus for us because they are exceptionally good young players."

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Phil Jones
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Manchester United