Football

Jones hits back at Pearce under-21 claims

United centre-half denies refusing call-up (©GettyImages)
United centre-half denies refusing call-up (©GettyImages).

Is it just me or do you get the feeling Stuart Pearce not taken his dismissal as England under-21 coach too well?

‘Psycho’ seems to have turned into ‘sulko’ and has found a new favourite pastime nurturing the crippling chip on his shoulder.

After a disappointing European Championships the former Manchester City boss was relieved of his duties and has since come out with some scathing attacks on players he claimed refused his call-ups to the under-21s.

One such player was Manchester United’s Phil Jones and following reports this morning that the former Blackburn defender wanted an apology from Pearce for his public accusations, the Manchester United man took the opportunity at a public appearance today to set the record straight:

"I didn't expect it and I am disappointed," said Jones.

"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."

"It was totally out of my hands," said Jones.

Jones was part of the senior England squad for the post-season friendlies and says he decision was not his to make:

"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.

"People are entitled to their opinions and they can make comments.

"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 and I will continue to enjoy that experience when it happens."

Jones was returning to his old stomping ground of Balshaw High School to provide them with free kits and training equipment as part of an initiative run by the Premier League, PFA and Manchester United and was took the opportunity to reminisce about his school days:

"It is always nice to come back," said the 21-year-old.

"I have a lot of fond memories from here.

"Football was always my number one thing."

"I got scouted for Blackburn at the end of year six in primary school, so when I came here I was already at Blackburn and stayed there right through my high school.

"I used to miss every Tuesday in year 10 and 11 to train with the players from other schools in Blackburn."

"Thankfully it paid off - otherwise I would have got it in the neck from the teachers."

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Topics:
Manchester United
Phil Jones
Football
Stuart Pearce
Premier League

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