Smalling has become one of Man United’s most important players this season with some brilliant performances at centre-back, while Jones has struggled with injury and is only now working his way into becoming a regular starter.
The 23-year-old has started all of United’s games since the international break and has put in some encouraging displays since his return.
He will want to learn from Smalling, who has developed into an incredible defender over the past year. The former Fulham man is quickly shaping himself into one of the best defenders in the league. Jones has seen at close quarters just how good Smalling has been for United this season and sang his praises.
“I’m delighted for Chris. He’s worked really hard, he’s a great lad on and off the field. He’s worked his socks off and deserves all the credit he’s getting,” he told manutd.com.
“I don’t want to put any added pressure on him but everyone in the club is delighted with his progress and hopefully he can keep going. I need a consistent run like him too, absolutely. You can grow in confidence with a run of games. The more games you play, the more confidence you get and hopefully we can cement a partnership together.”
Jones has often shown signs of what a brilliant defender he can be but injuries have hampered his development over time. Since signing from Blackburn in 2011, Jones has always been on the brink of becoming a regular first-team member but has never managed to break through fully. Now that he has his opportunity under Louis van Gaal, he will want to stay fit and do enough to keep his place in the team and get his career on track.<--Article End-->