Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offers update on Phil Jones's injury recovery

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has offered fitness updates on a number of Manchester United players.

He did so during his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Southampton on Sunday – which was streamed on the club’s official app at 1:30pm on 27/11.

He spoke about Marcus Rashford, Victor Lindelof, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard.

But he also gave a brief update on Phil Jones’s recovery.

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He said the Englishman is out ‘until probably after Christmas some time.

The last time Solskjaer spoke about Jones in a press conference was back in October, just before the visit of Arsenal.

Then, he struck a more positive tone and was at pains to point out how hard Jones is working to get fit.

The prognosis on that occasion was that he’d return ‘in December’, because he was ‘working really diligently and he’ll be coming back soon.’

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On paper, Jones could return after Christmas and still come back in December.

But he’s been left out of United’s Premier League squad so it doesn’t look like he’ll return until 2021.

Solskjaer’s more throwaway, less detailed and slightly more downbeat tone, as well as the adjusted prognosis suggests Jones’s recovery isn’t going to plan.

That’s yet more bad luck for a player who has been plagued by injuries at Old Trafford.

Is a January exit likely?

Solskjaer’s updated prognosis means Jones won’t get a chance to play a competitive game to prove his fitness before the January transfer window opens.

That’s not exactly going to entice potential suitors. They’ll want players who can come in mid-season and make an immediate impact.

Jones needs to go somewhere, play regularly and get some form and fitness back – even if it is on loan.

But today’s brief update suggests his fitness struggles may obstruct him once again.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.