All eyes will be on Jose Mourinho's team sheet when Manchester United welcome Newcastle to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils boss has tantalised fans with the potential returns of Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo, and above all, a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The trio will all be named in United's matchday squad as they seek to halt Manchester City's inexorable march towards the Premier League title, with the gap currently eight points at the summit.
However, one man who will not feature is Phil Jones.
The centre-back was wearing leg strapping for England's recent goalless draw with Germany at Wembley and somewhat inevitably hobbled off in the first half.
Despite having just 24 caps, Gareth Southgate was looking to the former Blackburn defender to add some experience to what was a youthful set-up featuring the likes of Tammy Abraham, Dominic Solanke, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
In hindsight, taking that risk was not worth the strain on a player who has already had so much of his career blighted by injuries.
Speaking in his Friday press conference, Mourinho was quite understandably livid at the decision, and the Portuguese also gave a deeply worrying insight into the tactics used by England to ensure an unfit Jones would play.
A lack of concern
“With Phil Jones the strange thing is that I have been a manager since 2000 and, in 17 years as a manager, I don’t have one single player that had injections of anaesthetic to play a friendly,” he said, per the Guardian.
“Never. I am not an angel and I had players injected to play official matches, crucial matches, but a friendly? To get six local anaesthetic injections to play a friendly, I’ve never heard of that.
"But Phil Jones had it and had it before the match, and after 25 minutes he was out and tomorrow he is out.”
What can England have been thinking? Club vs country disputes are nothing new, but this is genuinely alarming.
Asked if Southgate had spoken to him about the situation, Mourinho added:
“No. I am just telling a fact. He was injected in the afternoon of the match. He didn’t feel good during the warm-up. Between the warm-up and the start of the match he had five more local injections to play the friendly. I have nothing more to say.”
The same newspaper report that the FA's medical team felt that the 25-year-old had left international duty in the same condition as when he arrived.
It hardly needs stating that Mourinho does not feel the same way.
Are England to blame for Jones' injury? Have your say in the comments.
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