Manchester United defender Phil Jones has hit back at recent criticism from Old Trafford legend Paul Scholes by insisting that he is "not bothered" by anything negative directed his way.
The retired Red Devils midfielder was quoted saying the former Blackburn Rovers star is not clever enough to play in his preferred position of central defence, which is why he's often been deployed at right-back during his time at the Theatre of Dreams.
However, Jones is adamant he does have what it takes to partner Chris Smalling at the heart of Louis van Gaal's back four, and claims he's grown a thick skin when it comes to the increasingly common disparagement that is levelled at under-performing professional footballers.
"People comment all the time about individuals," he is quoted saying by BT Sport. "Gone are the days when I used to take notice of what people say and react to it. It doesn't bother me one little bit any more.
"I am at the stage now where I can't be considered as a young player any more. I have got to step up, keep playing well and do what I do best."
Jones was asked about Scholes's latest swipe after featuring in England's goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland on Sunday having just played the full 90 minutes on the right side of Roy Hodgson's defence.
The versatile star is used to being shuffled around by the Three Lions boss after being asked to play in a more advanced central midfield position as well as his favoured centre-back role.
"I was no [Andrea] Pirlo or something like that - do you know what I mean?" he reflected light-heartedly on that game against Italy. "I could have told you that before the game!
"I can laugh about it now but I try to do the job as 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 to that.
"I have played in all three [positions] now and sometimes it can be difficult going from one position to the next, but I feel more comfortable at right-back.
"Obviously centre-back is where I want to be playing, but I was happy to play at right-back [against Ireland]. You just take it on the chin and play where you are asked to play. I know I can play in those positions.
"Some people think it is easy to just slot in there and everyone assumes that you have got to be up to speed straight away, but I was happy to play and it was a tough game."
According to Scholes the 23-year-old is more effective as a full-back because in the middle he tends to get dragged out of position too easily, and reckons his pace, power and crossing ability makes him more effective on the flank.
However, despite that it was still surprising to see Jones selected ahead of Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne for the stalemate at the Aviva Stadium, and it will be interesting to see who Hodgson goes with for next weekend's Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia.
Manchester United fans: Where do you think Phil Jones' best position is? Do you agree with Paul Scholes' assertion that he's not clever enough to become a regular centre-back at Old Trafford? Have your say below…
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