Manchester United are hopeful Phil Jones has not fractured his cheekbone during Wednesday night's match at Craven Cottage, and that he could be fit to face Wigan on Boxing Day.

Following Clint Dempsey's robust challenge on Manchester United's hugely impressive youngster, there were fears the 19-year-old could face six weeks on the sidelines with a broken cheekbone.

According to the Daily Mail however, Manchester United are optimistic that the facial injury is just heavy bruising, although they are yet to find out the results from an X-Ray the defender had on Thursday.

Jones has perhaps been Manchester United's best player this season, having played more games than anyone else at Old Trafford. Jones has cut a hugely impressive figure during his debut season at the Red Devils, and his recent form in the heart of Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield has been fundamental to their impressive response to their chastening Champions League exit.

Defeat in Switzerland was followed by convincing victories over Wolves, QPR and Fulham, as Manchester United maintain the pace on rivals Manchester City.

Ferguson will be desperate for Jones to be fit enough for their Boxing Day fixture at Old Trafford given his recent form and initial reports suggest the 19-year-old could hand his manager a major boost over Christmas.

Such is the seamless transition the former Blackburn Rovers prodigy has made at Manchester United, some seasoned observers have made hugely lavish comparison to football luminaries of the past when discussing the precocious Jones.

The latest was from former Manchester United midfielder Wilf McGuinness who claimed Jones has the capacity to be a totem for Sir Alex Ferguson's side for many years to come.

McGuiness suggests Jones has the ability to be as good a player as Roy Keane, Bryan Robson or Paul Ince and a talismanic figure for Manchester United for many years to come.

"I hear what people are saying about Phil Jones and that's fine but I wouldn't want to saddle him with the Edwards comparison - I don't think that would be fair on the lad." The ex-Manchester United midfielder told the Manchester Evening News.

"But there are similarities. There is no question about that and I certainly think Jones is going to be a player in the mould of Keane, Robson and Ince for Manchester United.

His future at Old Trafford is looking very, very good and he is going to be an excellent player for the club. He is a really exciting player and has the makings of being a great player for Manchester United."