Phil Jones: I never said that I was England's Andrea Pirlo

He played in the holding midfield role against Italy in March

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The Independent Football

Phil Jones has responded to the criticism that he was not up to playing holding midfield for England against Italy in March by pointing out that he never claimed to be his country’s answer to Andrea Pirlo.

The Manchester United man played in his third different position for England in as many games on Sunday when he played right-back against Republic of Ireland in the 0-0 draw in Dublin. Previously in March he had been centre-back against Lithuania and then defensive midfield against Italy in Turin.

Jones said: “I read after the game that I was no Pirlo but then I could have told you that before the game started, I mean ...

“You can laugh about it now. But I try to do the job the best I can. I know I’m not an out and out midfielder who is going to get on the ball and start spraying it about. I know what I am good at and I try to stick with that.”

 

The 23-year-old could also joke about the unusual ground-level header that he attempted against Arsenal in the Premier League game against United on 17 May. “I thought the ball was going over my head and then I realised there wasn’t enough pace on it. So I turned, slipped over, tried to get up again, slipped again and the only thing I could do was try to head it away while I was on the floor. But I actually headed it onto his [Olivier Giroud’s] foot. He had a little chuckle as well.

“I’ve taken some stick over it. My mates have been battering me about it. It went viral didn’t it?”

He said that he was happy to adapt to different positions but saw himself as a centre-back in the long term. “I just take it on the chin and play where I am asked to play. I know I can play in those positions. Some people think it is easy to slot in there and you should be up to speed straight away but I was just happy to play.”

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