Lions need roar talent to win back fed-up fans
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