Jose Mourinho admits Chris Smalling and Phil Jones may not play again this season

James Ducker
Both players picked up injuries while on England duty - The FA Collection

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are uncertain to play again this season after Jose Mourinho claimed the Manchester United defenders had suffered “long-term” injuries on England duty.

Smalling injured his right leg during England’s friendly defeat to Germany last Wednesday and has since been seen sporting a brace.

Jones incurred a toe injury in training, ironically after a challenge by Smalling and Mourinho appeared to cast doubt on Friday over whether the pair would play again this term, despite declining to put a specific time scale on their absences.

The United manager also claimed he had “no idea” how long Paul Pogba will be out for after the France midfielder suffered a hamstring injury in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie against FC Rostov before the international break.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera will also miss Saturday’s visit of West Bromwich Albion through suspension but Wayne Rooney is available for selection after a minor knee problem.

Mourinho was in a relaxed mood on Friday Credit: getty images

“I know that Zlatan and Herrera have the last match ban so it's easy to say they will be available after the [West Brom] match, I think clearly the two English boys are long-term injuries and Pogba I have no idea,” Mourinho said.

“They [the unavailable players] are not important, the important ones are the ones that are ready to play, that's the way we have to think.

“We cannot be here crying or thinking about the players who are not available to play. You know Zlatan and Herrera are suspended even, you know what happened in the English national team with Smalling and Jones, we know that we have also Pogba injured but I repeat they're not important, the important ones are the players that are ready to play, I trust and are going to fight for us.”

Jones suffered his injury in a challenge with Smalling in training Credit: AFP

Mourinho had reacted to the injuries of Jones and Smalling by condemning mid-season international friendlies.

“I am totally against the friendly matches,” Mourinho told Sky Sports Soccer Saturday. “I think friendly matches for the national team only make sense before the final phases.

“A couple of weeks before the Euros or a couple of weeks before the World Cup makes sense. But mid-season friendly matches mixed with qualification matches, I don’t think that makes sense.

“On top of that the matches are not really big matches so I am not a big fan. But I think one day I will be there [as a national team manager] so I cannot be very critical.”

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