Phil Jones: Manchester United defender criticised for another 'embarrassing' Under-21s display

Phil Jones’ annus horribilis plumbed new depths on Monday night as he struggled once again during a run-out for Manchester United’s Under-21s side.

The England international, who looks increasingly unlikely to make Roy Hodgson’s squad for this summer’s European Championships, is recovering from a malleolar injury which he suffered at the start of February.

Jones, who saw his display against Chelsea’s Under-21s earlier this month roundly criticised, has been attempting to regain match fitness and play his way back into Louis van Gaal’s first-team plans, having made three appearances for the reserve side in recent weeks.

However, the 24-year-old defender’s sub-par display in Monday’s 2-1 defeat to Southampton will not have helped his cause.

Jones conceded a free-kick after being “humiliated” by Sam Gallagher, according to the Manchester Evening News, and the set-piece led to Paddy McNair’s ultimately decisive own goal.

The former Blackburn Rovers youth product was substituted for Demetri Mitchell in the 76th-minute, with the score at 2-0, and his poor showing did not go unnoticed by the club’s supporters.

What social media said…

Jones could yet be included in the squad for Sunday’s game against Leicester City, which could see the Foxes confirmed as Premier League champions.

The centre-back has not featured for Van Gaal’s first team since January 2, during the 2-1 win over Swansea City, and has made just six league starts this season.

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