Phil Jones has taken to doing yoga and pilates classes in a bid to put his injury woes behind him.
The Manchester United defender has been hit with a catalogue of injuries since his £16m move from Blackburn in 2011.
Jones has struggled with back, knee and ankle problems since moving to Old Trafford with his rough style taking its toll, he is yet to manage 30 appearances in a Premier League season.
Jones played his first game since October on the weekend against Liverpool and completed 89 minutes before being substituted for Paddy McNair.
Louis van Gaal broke with his usual plan to improve players match fitness through the under-21s and rushed Jones back as Marcos Rojo suffered a thigh injury in training on Saturday.
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United’s victory against Liverpool was their sixth win in a row and it was a shock return for Jones.
He said: “The first 20 minutes were a bit of a whirlwind for me to be honest. It happened so quick. I don’t think any training session can get you ready for a game in the Premier League never mind playing against Liverpool.”
Now the centre back wants an injury-free run to reclaim his place in the side: “I have been doing a lot of work in the gym and hopefully that will stand me in good stead for the rest of the season. I have been doing strength work and yoga and pilates. Loads of stuff. I will do anything I can to improve myself.”
Jones had only just returned to training after seven games out with shin splints; prior to that he had made a one match comeback after pulling his hamstring on international duty with England.
Should have been fit
The 22-year-old had enjoyed a good pre-season playing in all of United’s friendlies.
Van Gaal’s sports science team informed him that Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans would all be available this season so the Dutchman chose to sign just one defender as a replacement for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, however there are rumours that the manager may enter the January transfer market to find some reinforcements.
However Jones is hoping to stay fit and stop the Dutchman from signing another defender: “My aim right now is to stay fit and stay focused and get a run of games under my belt. Hopefully I can stay fit, look after myself in games and make sure I stay fit.”