Derby County’s interim manager Wayne Rooney has played down speculation that he could be set to make Phil Jones his first signing for the club. The Manchester United defender has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford on numerous occasions, and is now being tipped to join the Championship strugglers on a temporary basis next month.
Jones and Rooney were team-mates at United, with the pair having played 143 times together for club and country.
The former has not featured at all for the Red Devils this season and is likely to move on, either next month or in the summer, as he seems to have little chance of working himself back into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team plans.
He has been hit with numerous injury setbacks this year and has not played a minute for the club since January’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against Tranmere Rovers.
Jones has also been linked with Newcastle United, West Ham United and Leicester City in recent months.
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Speaking ahead of Derby’s Boxing Day fixture against Preston North End at Pride Park, Rooney told reporters that he will not comment on Jones’ future for as long as he remains at United.
“Phil Jones is a Manchester United player and it is not my job to really speak on him,” he said.
Solskjaer hinted in October that Jones could return to full fitness ahead of the January transfer window and a possible move.
“Phil has been injured and had an operation and working really hard to be back, hopefully he’ll get fit during December,” Solskjaer said before United’s defeat against Arsenal at Old Trafford.