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Gareth Southgate: 'Phil Jones is England's best defender'

Southgate heaps praise on Phil Jones
England boss Gareth Southgate describes Manchester United's Phil Jones as the Three Lions' best defender based on current form.

England boss Gareth Southgate has heaped praise on defender Phil Jones ahead of the World Cup qualifier with Slovakia.

Jones has suffered injury problems for a number of years, but when fit the centre-back has impressed for Manchester United and the 25-year-old's form has led to a spot in Southgate's starting lineup.

Southgate has confirmed that Jones will feature against Slovakia at Wembley Stadium, with the Three Lions manager saying that he regards the former Blackburn Rovers man as the nation's best defender based on current form.

The 47-year-old told reporters: "Not just this season but there was a long period in the middle of last season where I think he has been the best defender. He's got very good composure on the ball. He's got the reading of the game, he's aggressive in his defending - which I like - and I think he has got fantastic experience, although he is still only relatively young.

"Obviously he has missed a lot of football. I remember watching him against Spain under Fabio [Capello] so we are going back quite a long way since he made his debut.

"He's had great experiences with club and country. He organises well, he competes well so I'm delighted we've been able to involve him this time and it was clear the other night [against Malta] what he brings to the team."

Jones has won 22 caps for his country since making his debut in 2011.

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England midfielder Jordan Henderson in action during his side's World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley on November 11, 2016
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