Phil Jones has explained how facing off against Manchester United's wealth of attacking options is helping bring on his game leaps and bounds.
The centre-back regularly tussles with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in training, and will also pit his wits against Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the Sweden legend fully recovers from a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Speaking to United's official site about the plethora of striking options available to manager Jose Mourinho, Jones stated that coming up against some of the best Premier League marksmen would stand him in good stead for taking on opposition players in competitive matches.
He said: “As a defender, you want to play against the best strikers in the world. You want to test yourself and prove to people that you’re good enough to do that.
“Playing against these players in training every day makes me a better player. It gives me a better understanding of how to deal with these types of players when they’re on the opposing team.”
Jones played alongside club mate Rashford in England's slender 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Slovakia at Wembley on Monday - a match the teenage striker scored the winner in.
The 26-year-old revealed that he had been left highly impressed by Rashford's desire and talents since he had broken into the first-team fold at Old Trafford.
He continued: “He’s a great lad off the pitch and, on it, he’s a special talent. He’s already special but he’ll be a world-beater one day, he’s that good.
“He’s so quick, sharp, technically gifted, two-footed and a nightmare for defenders. You’ve seen it this season already, he’s given defenders nightmares.
"He’s an Academy product and players from the youth system have done great over the last few years. He’s a special player and we’re lucky to have him.”
United have begun this term in fine fettle and a key component of their unbeaten league form so far has been the burgeoning central defensive partnership between Jones and Eric Bailly.
The ex-Blackburn starlet added that he was happy to carry on playing alongside the Ivory Coast ace and stated his belief that there was more to come from him.
Jones said:“He's adapted really well. He’s a great lad in the dressing room, he’s a talented footballer, he’s strong and he’s quick.
“He had a good first season and hopefully he can do even better this season. He’s a funny guy and the lads bounce off him, so we’re happy to have him here.”