Phil Jones to make long-awaited seasonal bow for Manchester United against Galatasaray
Jones has been hampered by a summer back injury
Tuesday 20 November 2012
Phil Jones makes his long-awaited seasonal bow for Manchester United against Galatasaray this evening with Sir Alex Ferguson accepting injuries are part of the maturing process in someone so young.
Even though he is now in his fourth season as a Premier League player and also has five caps to his name, Jones is still only 20.
However, his recent progress has been hampered by a summer back injury, which was followed by knee surgery after a pre-season training setback.
Jones has finally recovered, and Ferguson insists he is not worried by the extended spell on the sidelines.
"It's a big day for Phil Jones," said Ferguson.
"He's been out all season but has done enough training to make sure his fitness is okay.
"They've all been different types of injuries and because he is young, he's still to develop physically.
"He's only 20 years of age so there's plenty of time for him."
Despite leaving most of his senior players at home, including Shinji Kagawa, who will be out for another four weeks with the knee injury he originally sustained last month, Ferguson vowed United have enough experience to cope with the unique demands of tonight's game.
"Most of them will have experience of big games and big crowds," said Ferguson.
"Obviously for Nick Powell it's completely different - he's played in front of 76,000 as a substitute but this will be his first European away game.
"It will be a big day for him but he has the temperament, which is important."
United avoided a welcome reception last night by taking a side exit through Istanbul airport.
It is just one of the lessons learned from that amazing night 19 years ago when Eric Cantona and Bryan Robson were struck by baton wielding police amid a frenzied atmosphere as United crashed out of the tournament.
'Welcome to Hell' has now changed venues, from the Ali Sami Yen stadium to the plush Turk Telecom Arena.
But likely skipper Darren Fletcher insists he knows how to handle it.
"It'll be hostile - the fans are really passionate," he said.
"I've not played against Galatasaray but I've been to Bursaspor and Besiktas and it's a unique atmosphere.
"It's a challenge and something we have to experience. For me it's a new stadium, a new occasion and you want to enjoy the experience. Hopefully that brings out the best in your performance."
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