Manchester United youngster Phil Jones has jumped to the defence of senior teammate Rio Ferdinand. Sir Alex Ferguson cited the arrival of Jones, along with the presence of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, as the reasons why Ferdinand can no longer be certain of a starting spot at Old Trafford.

"Rio is a fantastic player," said Jones. "His age is just a number.

"I learn a lot from him every day in training. He always helping me, always talking to me and that is massive."