Manchester United and England defender Phil Jones has shrugged off suggestions from former team-mate Paul Scholes that he is “not quite clever enough” to play at centre-back.
Jones was chosen to start at right-back in England’s 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday rather than in his preferred position in the centre of defence.
Scholes, who played with Jones at United, stated in his role as a pundit for ITV that he agreed with Roy Hodgson’s decision as he feels the former Blackburn Rovers’ player’s attributes are better served at full-back.
The ex-United and England midfielder added: “I just think at centre-back, when he is playing against clever forwards, he tends to get dragged out of position quite easily.”
Jones has taken Scholes’ assessment with a pinch of salt, though, and insisted he pays no attention to opinions of pundits.
“People comment all the time about individuals,” said Jones.
“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’ versatility has served England well in the past, and he was employed in a midfield role against Italy in March’s 1-1 friendly draw.
And Jones is happy to play where required, adding: “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.”
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