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Manchester United report: Two defenders set to leave following Phil Jones return

Manchester United report: Two defenders allowed to leave following Phil Jones return
(Image credit: Getty)

Manchester United have informed young defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Ethan Laird they can leave the club on loan this month following the impressive return to first team action of Phil Jones. 

Ralf Rangnick told the duo they are welcome to join Championship clubs for the remainder of the season, after being impressed with England international Jones – back in first team action for the first time in more than 700 days – during Monday's 1-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers

Both Tuanzebe and Laird have attracted interest from Championship sides, with Tuanzebe also reportedly a target for Serie A side Napoli. Though the Italians are said to be keen on a permanent move – something Rangnick isn't open to considering at this point in time. The 63-year-old would prefer short-term moves, after which the players could be considered for first team action going into the new season. 

Rangnick had previously voiced his doubt over letting fringe players leave this month, with the global pandemic and a congested fixture list stretching Premier League squads to their limits. Yet Monday's performance of Jones, 29, has convinced the German manager that United have enough quality to cope with even the worst defensive crisis. 

Jones was once tipped to become an all-time Old Trafford great, yet a mixture of injuries and loss of confidence has seen the former Blackburn prodigy cast aside in recent seasons. Before Monday's home defeat, Jones last featured for the Red Devils in a 6-0 FA Cup rout of Tranmere Rovers back in January 2020. 

While by no means seen as a long term solution to United's centre back options, Jones has shown he is still a capable performer when fit, and has another 18 months left to run on terms he signed in February 2019. 

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Ed McCambridge

Ed McCambridge is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working for the magazine and website. Ed has been living in Berlin since 2015 and worked as a Bundesliga reporter before joining FFT. Formerly a season ticket holder at AFC Wimbledon, he's now most commonly spotted at local side Union Berlin.