No bedside manners: Manchester United fuming at FA after Stuart Pearce blabs about Phil Jones’ shingles

By Chris Bailey

Sir Alex Ferguson has the Football Association in his crosshairs after England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce revealed Manchester United youngster Phil Jones was suffering from shingles, breaking doctor-patient confidentiality.

The 20-year-old was expected to miss game time – including Wednesday’s trip to Real Madrid – when Pearce gave his reasons for leaving him out of his squad to face Sweden in midweek.

But Ferguson has included Jones in the squad to play against Everton on Sunday and insists the ex-Manchester City defender should have kept his illness under wraps.

“What about doctor confidentiality?” said the Scot. “Jones is fine despite what Stuart Pearce says and we’re very disappointed with the FA for that.

“It is something we have to address. The FA is a big organisation, things can leak from a lot of different places.

“But that was a conversation between our doctor and theirs, and shouldn’t have gone any further.”

The Toffees visit to Old Trafford at the weekend will dredge up bad memories for Ferguson’s men.

The Red Devils were 4-2 up in the fixture last season, but two late strikes from Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar levelled the game up – giving City a way in to snatch the title.

Though Ferguson expects another hard-fought game with the Merseyside club, he believes an in-form United are well-equipped to stave off their challenge.

“It’s a tough game on Sunday,” he added. “We were 4-2 up with seven or eight minutes to go.

“It was unexpected and we have to anticipate the unexpected in the run-in. That was a bad blow for us and it cost us the league.

“Everton are very experienced and, if you look at their record, they’ve only lost three games this season. They’re obviously hard to beat.

“But the team is playing well, I’m pleased with their form and I’m pleased that the players we’re changing around, when I’m making different team selections, are buying into it well.

“They’re all contributing in their own way and that gives us a better chance in terms of dealing with the various competitions we’re in now.”

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