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Injury may rule Jones out of England's World Cup campaign

Manchester United's utility man has not dislocated his shoulder, but has sustained ligament damage and may miss the World Cup.

Alex Livesey

With just over a month until England's first game of the 2014 World Cup, Phil Jones is a major doubt for the squad. Manchester United's defender/Swiss Army knife was taken to hospital after injuring his shoulder during Sunday's 3-1 win over Hull City, and while he has not suffered a dislocation, he is waiting on the results of scans to determine the extent of the damage to his ligaments.

If Jones is ruled out of the tournament, then Roy Hodgson, England's manager, is going to have to improvise. While Jones is unlikely to start in any of his various positions, being behind Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka in the centre of defence, Glen Johnson at right-back, and various players in central midfield, his flexibility would have given Hodgson space in the squad for an extra forward or another attacking midfielder.

The alternatives aren't that great. Chris Smalling, who may go anyway, can obviously cover both positions, as can Everton's talented-but-inexperienced John Stones. Alternatively, Cardiff City's Steven Caulker could go as an extra centre-back, along with a specialist right-back like ... hang on, do England actually have any other right-backs? There's probably one at Southampton. But knowing Jones he'll get fit, make the plane, and then knock himself unconscious while attempting to open a foil packet of mini pretzels.