Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is "pleased" Phil Jones has the chance to play for England in the games against Estonia and Lithuania in order to regain full fitness. The 23-year-old defender is yet to start a game this season after suffering from a thrombosis issue in August.

The England international returned to action as a substitute in the Capital One Cup victory over Ipswich Town on 23 September. Van Gaal handed him two more cameos against Sunderland and Wolfsburg but opted to leave him out of the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal despite the problems the Dutch boss had to form a solid defence due to injuries to Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo – with winger Ashley Young playing as a left-back.

And Van Gaal now hopes England manager Roy Hodgson gives him some more playing time in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. United, nevertheless, will visit Everton on 17 October after the international break but it is unclear whether the Dutch boss will have Rojo back in his team after he was withdrawn from the Argentina squad.

"I think it's always an honour to play for your country," Van Gaal told MUTV. "And, in our build-up of his condition in the games, [Jones] needs match rhythm, so I shall be very pleased when he plays for England because that helps him to get minutes for Manchester United. That's important."

Jones, meanwhile, also spoke about the importance of securing regular time in order to help both United and England this season.

"Playing for England is a huge honour, whenever you're selected, and I want to be part of the squad and part of the Euros, but I know I have to maintain a good level of form and fitness for United to be able to do that," he said. "That's my short-term focus."