Manchester United defender Phil Jones has revealed that he has a lot of respect for Sir Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce and Jose Mourinho who backed him and encouraged him when he played under their guidance. The defender has emerged as an integral part of the United back four this season, starting all of the Red Devils' three Premier League fixtures.

The 25-year-old's form has prevented United's summer arrival Victor Lindelof from making his league debut. Jones and Bailly have ensured a clean sheet in every game as the 20-time English champions sit atop the table two points clear of the chasing pack. The defender also revealed that he never had plans to leave the club despite a lot of speculation over his future.

Jones has been injury-prone since his arrival from Blackburn and has missed big chunks in recent seasons. Mourinho is aware of his troubles and believes the player needs constant monitoring from the medical team in order to remain injury-free throughout the campaign. He is now an injury doubt for England's World Cup qualifying matches against Malta and Slovakia after picking up a knock in United's 2-0 win over Leicester City.

"Yeah, I feel good, happy and strong. I want to keep playing and play as many games as I can this season. I have seen those comments and it's nice to hear that from the manager but I am under no illusions. It's a long season ahead and things can change very quickly in football and I need to keep doing what I am doing in training and in matches as well," Jones said, as quoted by the Independent.

"I don't want to disrespect the other managers I have played under because I have the utmost respect for all the managers I have worked under and their opinions and whether you think they are right or wrong you still have the respect for them, but I just feel in general that those [Mourinho, Allardyce and Ferguson] are the managers that have made me feel so wanted at the club and need me as one of their main players. Any footballer would tell you that if that's the case then you are going to get the best out of you.

"It's [Leaving] never really crossed my mind. It's been documented in the papers now and again but it never really crossed my mind that I needed to leave. I said to myself if I can stay fit and if I am playing well I will play games and hopefully I can carry on doing that."

Phil Jones
Phil Jones has played the full 90 minutes in all three of United's league games thus far Getty