Question mark over Jones' future

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Vinnie Jones' Wales team-mates want the controversial midfielder to return to the international fold, despite his red card against Georgia.

Jones instantly regretted his stamp on the Dynamo Tbilisi striker Mikhail Kavelashvili during the 1-0 defeat in Cardiff on Wednesday, his dejected trudge to the Arms Park dressing-room demonstrating his despair.

That might be intensified if his 28th-minute sending off by the Finnish referee, Ilkka Koho, does mean the end of Jones' international career after just four Welsh caps.

Jones' spirits, however, were lifted by the reaction from his colleagues, who said they would welcome him back after his automatic suspension. He is likely to be banned from the final three matches of Wales' abortive European Championship campaign.

Jones' dismissal was his third this term and the ninth of his career. He appeared before the Football Association after his tunnel skirmish with Kevin Keegan and was then involved in the infamous Dublin nose-biting affair. By the time his latest ban is over, a new Welsh manager could well have been installed in place of Mike Smith - the FA of Wales will meet on 28 June to discuss the managerial situation.

"I was gutted but I will never let Wales down," said Jones, as he reflected on the incident. "It was a more a case of trying to get him off me because he was tangled around me but what I did probably cost us the game.

"We were playing so well and I just wanted to lead the boys to victory. I was playing with my heart on my sleeve and really enjoying it as well. I've got to look on it as a learning session for me again."

Smith declared he would wait to see video evidence of the incident before making any decision on Jones' future, but there was no doubt that the Welsh players would be happy to see him return.

"It was just a split-second thing," said Dean Saunders, himself handed a four-match ban after being sent off in a European Championship qualifier in Germany four years ago.

"Something like that just happens and you don't realise what you've done until afterwards. I know all about it. The worst thing about being sent off in an international game is that it can last so long before you get the chance to play again, sometimes up to a year or more. But we'll welcome him back if he gets the chance to return. He's done well for us since he came in."

While Jones got backing from his colleagues and the Welsh fans, Smith's position is once more under threat after his side's fifth defeat in six matches.

The FAW maintained they had decided to call the June meeting before Wednesday's game, with Smith's contract expiring at the end of the year.