Pallister believes United’s young defensive pair will eventually establish themselves as Hodgson’s first-choice partnership.
“Smalling and Jones look terrific players and are going to be the future for Manchester United,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “I see them being England’s centre-backs as well.
“They’ve already played together for England at Under- 21 level and I think they are both exceptional talents. They are still gaining their experience at Old Trafford – learning what it’s like to play for a big club like Manchester United.
“But what we’ve seen from them is that they are very athletic, very quick, very determined characters and they’ve both settled in.
“Smalling is a composed player and Jones can play in midfield, so you are not worrying about his composure either.
“If the manager feels like he can play in a midfield role then you know he’s quite comfortable with the ball at his feet. But I prefer to see him as a centre- half. I think that’s where his future lies.
“With him and Smalling, if they can get games together, then I think they can be the future of United and England.
“They are young players and they’ve have come in and shown they can handle Old Trafford. They’ve shown they can handle the pressure.
“I don’t know how long it takes to settle at a club like this. It took me a year probably to settle in here but I think they’ve both shown they can handle everything that comes with playing for United.”