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Phil Jones: Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has improved me

Phil Jones appears to be developing a strong partnership with Chris Smalling in the Manchester United defence.

Phil Jones thinks he has improved as a footballer under Louis van Gaal and thanked the Manchester United manager for the development in his game.

Jones, 23, seems to finally be establishing himself in the centre of the United defence and has formed a fine partnership with his fellow Englishman Chris Smalling in the recent 3-0 win over Tottenham and 2-1 victory against Liverpool.

He believes Van Gaal's methods are a major reason he has kicked on this season, telling a news conference: "I think it has made me a better player for adapting to different situations at different times in the game at club level and international level.

"He's [Van Gaal] a good manager. We enjoy playing for him and we've learned a lot from him this season."

Jones joined United for £16 million from Blackburn in 2011 and former manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in 2013 that he could become the greatest player in the club's history.

But he had suffered with injuries for much of his time at Old Trafford and struggled to find a regular place in the team as he was used at centre-back, right-back and in midfield.

Now he hopes his injury problems have been consigned to the past, adding: "I'm feeling good. I've played quite a few games now in a row and I'm feeling confident and I'm feeling fit.

"It's just repetition of routine day in, day out and doing my own little workouts -- going into the gym, getting treatment when I need to and just generally looking after myself."

Meanwhile, fellow United defender Smalling has said England manager Roy Hodgson stopped him from going to university.

Smalling was playing for non-league Maidstone when Hodgson signed him for Fulham.

He said in the Daily Express: "Roy's the one who really got it started for me. He pulled me into his office after the trial and it started from there.

"I had my exams in a month or two, but was offered a trial by Fulham, and also Middlesbrough, and thought I had nothing to lose.

"I went along with my mum and my brother, but already had the backup plan of places to study Financial Economics at Leicester and Loughborough. I had an offer of three B's [in his A-Level exams], which I was confident of getting, and I did. So at my trial I had nothing to lose and could give it my all."

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