Lions need roar tal­ent to win back fed-up fans

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By PAUL HETHER­ING­TON

DE­FENDER Phil Jones ad­mits that Eng­land’s play­ers have a job on their hands to re­gain the love of the fans.

Con­tin­ued fail­ure in ma­jor tour­na­ments – like at the 2014 fi­nals un­der Roy Hodg­son – has led to sup­port­ers be­com­ing cyn­i­cal about the Three Lions’ prospects at the World Cup in Rus­sia next sum­mer.

And Jones said: “Pos­si­bly the pub­lic have lost love with us – but it’s up to us to earn that back.

“That’s what ev­ery sin­gle lad in the dress­ing room is try­ing to do.”

And while Eng­land’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion for Rus­sia was ex­pected af­ter be­ing drawn in a group with Slo­vakia, Scot­land, Slove­nia, Lithua­nia and Malta, Jones reck­ons the way in which Gareth South­gate’s side made it through has pos­si­bly been over­looked.

He added: “We’ve not had enough recog­ni­tion for that. But you look at the teams we’ve played against and we are ex­pected to beat them.

“It’s never easy, though, to go and beat those teams four and five-nil all the time.

“So the games in this in­ter­na­tional break, against Ger­many last Fri­day and Brazil on Tues­day, are a good test for us.

“I played in the last World Cup in the fi­nal group game against Costa Rica. That was dif­fi­cult be­cause of the cir­cum­stances. We couldn’t win. We’d been knocked out of the com­pe­ti­tion and the knives were out.

“But it’s a game I re­mem­ber fondly be­cause I could say I’d played in the World Cup. And I’m looking for­ward to the next one in Rus­sia. I hope I’m there, there’s no guar­an­tee.

“The man­ager has to make tough de­ci­sions and hope­fully I’ll be one of the ones he picks.”

FLOP: Ex-boss Roy Hodg­son

■ PHIL YER BOOTS: Jones has be­come a de­fen­sive rock for club and coun­try

■ SMILES BET­TER: Jones with Eng­land boss South­gate

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