England head coach Gareth Southgate heaps praise on Phil Jones

England national team coach Gareth Southgate has insisted that Phil Jones is the best defender in the country based on his current form.


The 25-year-old has started the season as a regular for both club and country while putting fear of injuries behind him.

The centre-back has started all three of Manchester United's league outings this term, and he has since featured for the Three Lions in their 4-0 triumph over Malta. Southgate has already confirmed that Jones will start the game against Slovakia, and he went on to praise the Englishman for his aggressiveness on the field.

The 47-year-old said: "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."

United boss Jose Mourinho has recently revealed that Jones is suffering from a minor ankle injury, but the Three Lions faithful will hope that he manages to shake off the niggle as his presence will be crucial to their World Cup ambition next year. England are currently placed at the top of Group F with 17 points, and a win over Slovakia on Monday night would put them on the brink of an automatic World Cup spot.

Southgate will be expecting full focus from his Three Lions players for the Slovakian clash as the East European side possess match winners, who could turn the complexion of a match.