Manchester United defender Phil Jones rejects criticism from Stuart Pearce
The former England U21 manager claimed some players weren't interested in playing for the Young Lions
Friday 13 September 2013
Stuart Pearce's stinging criticism of Phil Jones has not put the Manchester United man off playing for England.
Pearce this week singled out Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as two players who missed the European Under-21 Championships because he believed they felt dropping back down from the senior squad was beneath them.
Jones has insisted Pearce's claims are not true but it underlines the problems that can arise when players put themselves up for national selection.
But it has not dampened his enthusiasm for England duty.
Speaking on a visit to his old school, Balshaw's CE High School in Leyland, to deliver football equipment he helped pay for as part of a combined initiative involving the Premier League, PFA and Manchester United, Jones said: "It is an honour to represent your country at any level and I will continue to enjoy that experience when it happens.
"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."
Having missed the first three months of last season, and another six-week period between the middle of February and the beginning of April with a knee injury, then-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to protect Jones.
In addition, England boss Roy Hodgson would not countenance any player chosen for the post-season trip to Brazil to also be selected for Under-21 duty.
Hodgson informed Pearce he wanted Jones with him in Rio and the former Blackburn man subsequently completed the full 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw at the Maracana Stadium, having played the second half of a Wembley encounter with Republic of Ireland just four days earlier.
"It was totally out of my hands," said Jones.
"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.
"Probably 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 also I had 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."
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