Manchester United have reportedly started off negotiations over a potential long-term contract for Phil Jones. The England international has had a huge upturn of form under Jose Mourinho, and he is now regarded as the most influential defender in the club’s ranks.

According to ESPN, the 25-year-old could be in line for a contract extension at Old Trafford following his solidity at the back this term. Jones has suffered from minor injury concerns in the opening stages of the campaign, but he has still remained ever-present in the top-flight.

Overall, Jones has kept seven clean sheets in eight league outings for the Red Devils, and another shutout against Huddersfield Town this weekend would set a new top-flight record after nine games into a single season.

As per ESPN, talks over a probable extension are still at the initial stage, but there is confidence within the club’s hierarchy that a fresh deal will be sorted with the central defender. Jones is presently contracted to United until June 2019, although the club can extend his contract by a further 12 months.

Jones remains a key player for both club and country, and Mourinho has been circumspect with the defender’s fitness this term, having neglected him for the recent Champions League trips to CSKA Moscow and Benfica.

The Premier League is no doubt the top priority for Mourinho’s men for the current campaign, but they still have a lot of work to do with rivals Manchester City holding firm atop of the table.

Pep Guardiola’s side are presently just two points ahead of second-placed United, but their recent winning streak has seen some of the best-attacking football in a while.

Kevin de Bruyne, in particular, has been pulling the strings from central midfield, and he could be the X-factor behind the Citizens’ search for a first league title since the 2013/14 season.

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