Phil Jones lashes out at doubts over his commitment

by Sam Peoples

Phil Jones has reacted angrily to Stuart Pearce’s comments that he rejected the opportunity to play for England’s Under-21s this summer.

Ex Under-21s boss Pearce slammed Jones by claiming he refused to play for England’s U21s because he had enjoyed the ‘golden ivory towers’ of senior international football too much.

The 21-year-old has vehemently denied that he would ever turn down an opportunity to play for England at any level and has strongly denied Pearce’s outburst.

“I didn’t expect it and I am disappointed,” Jones said.

“It is simply not true. I have represented the Under-19s, the Under-21s and the seniors. I said from the first day I pulled on an England shirt, it sent shivers down my spine.

“How he can come out and say I didn’t want to play for the Under-21s is beyond me.

“It wasn’t nice to read what he said and I am sure Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is thinking the same thing.”

Pearce’s Under-21s had a shocking tournament this summer and crashed out without even winning a game, so it looks like he is just looking for someone to blame.

Jones plays with his heart on his sleeve. He leaves his blood on the pitch. Like a Rooney of old, he clearly just loves playing football at every opportunity and he would have played the tournament if he could, but his inability to play in the Under-21 European Championships was not up to him.

“It was totally out of my hands,” he added.

“Roy Hodgson came out prior to the Under-21 tournament and said he regarded me as a senior player.

“I went on to play against Ireland and Brazil, so it wasn’t a waste of time going with the seniors.

“If I had been on the bench I could have seen where he (Pearce) was coming from but I got a lot of experience from those two games.

“Don’t forget I had also just come back from a knee injury, for the second time, and I had to manage it in the right way, control it, and make sure I wasn’t overusing it.

“That’s why I am really disappointed in these comments.

“People are entitled to their opinions and I will just get on with my football and ignore it.

“It hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for England though, definitely not. It is an honour to represent your country at any level.”

Jones is not the type of player who would willingly turn down an opportunity to play football because of his passion for the game.

Even without his commitments to the national team, his rehabilitation from a knee injury would have restricted his ability to play in the Euro Under-21s and Pearce would have known that.

If there is one thing you can’t fault with Jones it is his commitment. He’ll play in goal if it means he can play football. Pearce was just looking for a scapegoat and thought he could find it in our Phil. Bad move, Stu.

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