Both defensive talents have filled in a variety roles this past season.
But Hodgson says: "It has always been clear and I’ve spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson about it: Phil Jones was signed as a centre-back. He played for Blackburn as a centre-back. Alex recognised his talent and potential and went out and paid a good sum of money for him as a centre-back.
"The same applies for Chris Smalling. I was dealing with Alex over that transfer. He watched him play at centre-back for Fulham and thought here’s a potentially good centre-back for us. But they’re pretty blessed at United because, apart from Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, they’ve had Jonny Evans as well.
"So it doesn’t surprise me, in that situation, if you have a player that you think is a good player and a good defender, if a vacancy arises elsewhere you put him in. But both Smalling and Jones will consider themselves more centre-backs than anything else. Alex would agree."