Jones eyes Smalling partnership

Youngsters in line to pair up following injuries to Rio and Vidic

Jones and Smalling are no strangers to each other's game

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Phil Jones believes he and Chris Smalling are ready to pair up for Manchester United having already done so for England Under 21s.

With senior centre-half pairing Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic pulling up injured during United's 2-1 win over West Brom at the weekend, the youngsters have jumped to the front of the queue.

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson invested a reported £16.5million in buying Jones, 19, from Blackburn this summer, while Smalling, 21, arrived 12 months ago with great promise.

"We've done really well together with England and kept quite a few clean sheets."

Phil Jones on Chris Smalling

Quotes of the week

Both England Under 21 internationals, Jones is unfazed at the prospect of being thrown in to the first team ahead of United's second Premier League game against Tottenham on Monday.

"We've done really well together with England and kept quite a few clean sheets - that will only help," Jones told the club's official website.

Model

"We communicate well and read each other's game, which is a good thing to have in a partnership at the back."

Of Vidic and Ferdinand, Jones added: "They are brilliant defenders. I've always watched those two play together and tried to model my game on them and copy things they do."

Jones is expected to make his home debut against Spurs, with his previous appearance at Old Trafford coming in last season's 7-1 mauling at the hands of the champions.

He said: "It's a fantastic stadium with a great atmosphere and I was playing against some fantastic players. It's even better now I'm playing with them."