Phil Jones to partner Chris Smalling at Man Utd next season - Twitter reacts

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Wholesale changes were widely expected upon Jose Mourinho's arrival at Manchester United.

The maverick Portuguese is renowned for his ruthless approach to management, with his treatment of Juan Mata at Chelsea proof of just how strong-minded he is.

And he's taken no time at all to make a number of much-needed amendments at Old Trafford having signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly.


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Further arrivals and departures appear imminent, but a particular topic of interest recently has been how Mourinho will line up his defence next season, specifically at centre-back.

Chris Smalling and Daley Blind was Louis van Gaal's first-choice partnership last term but with Bailly and Phil Jones now available for selection, it would seem change is afoot.

And you would be correct for thinking that, but what Mourinho has in mind isn't quite what you would expect.

According to the Guardian, the 53-year-old has told Smalling and Jones they will be his first-choice pairing for the 2016/17 term.

Predictably, United fans have reacted to the news and they're largely unimpressed.


Opting for a Smalling-Jones partnership is certainly a strange move from Mourinho given he recently splashed out £30 million on a new centre-back.

Quite how the Portuguese plans to integrate Bailly - a highly-rated 22-year-old - remains to be seen.

There can be no doubting Jones and Smalling's potential and ability yet history suggests, like United's fans point out, that the defensive pair are prone to mistakes when played alongside each other.

Given how unpredictable a character Mourinho is, though, there's every chance his mind will change before United's clash with Bournemouth on the opening day of the new season.

Further alterations can most definitely be expected over the course of the next month as the former Chelsea boss seeks to build a title-winning squad at Old Trafford.

Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi continued to be linked with moves, whilst the likes of Juan Mata, Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini face uncertain futures.

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Wayne Rooney
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