England v Chile: Phil Jones prepared to keep his body on the line for Manchester United and England - even if it means getting hurt
The Manchester United defender could be handed another chance to impress in Friday's international friendly at Wembley
Thursday 14 November 2013
Phil Jones is happy to continue putting his body on the line for club and country if it will help make sure there are no more tears from schoolboys when they watch England at the World Cup next summer.
The versatile Manchester United 21-year-old could be given a chance to impress in his preferred centre-back position as England manager Roy Hodgson runs the rule over the national squad in the upcoming friendlies against Chile and Germany at Wembley.
Jones produced another dogged display when dropping back from a holding midfield role when Nemanja Vidic was injured against Arsenal on Sunday at Old Trafford, where United held out for a 1-0 win over the Barclays Premier League leaders.
The former Blackburn trainee was sporting a war wound from his tussle with France striker Olivier Giroud when he turned up for England training at the Gunners' Hertfordshire base on Wednesday.
It is a side of his game from which Jones draws great strength.
"I probably do get a few bumps and bruises, but that is just the way I play. I am not going to change that," said Jones, whose stray boot was responsible for a head wound to United and England team-mate Wayne Rooney in a training session earlier this season.
"It is just the way I play, I want to be strong and aggressive in attack and defence, it just so happens I pick up a few knocks now and again.
"I have always been like that, as a kid I used to get cuts and grazes on my knees from falling over in the playground, I did my ankles and all sorts in Sunday league football, but I enjoyed it and don't mind."
Jones will not be taking his World Cup dream lightly as he looks to make sure the young fans back home have plenty of reasons to party next summer.
"I always enjoyed watching the World Cup, and I remember going into primary school when we would get the drums out for the atmosphere because you have got to get into it, haven't you?" Jones said.
"I loved watching all the flags. Then at Euro 2000, when we lost, I remember being in tears."
Jones, signed by United for £16.5million in June 2011, insists the current generation do care about pulling on the Three Lions.
"Playing for England is a huge honour. Anytime you are picked for your country, it is a great feeling because there are so many world-class players who can be," he said.
"For me, it is still everything, and I think if you ask all the players, it will be the same."
Jones has eight caps so far, but limited opportunities at centre-back. He hopes that will change with time.
"I see it as an advantage if you can play in numerous positions because it can only help you," he added.
"Since I broke into Blackburn's first team, centre-back has always been the target, hopefully I can do that, but I am just really focused on playing and enjoying my football."
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