England’s Phil Jones fires warning to Spain ahead of Friday’s friendly


Phil Jones believes England will give Spain a tough test on Friday despite being without a string of first-choice stars.

James Milner became the latest experienced player to pull out this week , joining the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge on the sidelines.

Other important players, including Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Luke Shaw, are on the sidelines for the long term.

It means despite qualifying for next summer’s European Championships with a 10 out of 10 record, Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the current double header – they play France next week – is severely depleted.

Getty Roy Hodgson talks with England's assistant manager Ray Lewington as they stand on the pitch

Talking tactics: Roy Hodgson chats with England’s assistant manager Ray Lewington

Manchester United centre-back Jones said: “We’ve got some fantastic players in the squad that are itching to play, every one of us. Whoever the manager picks will go out and do a good job I’m sure of that.

“We’ve been on a great run since we have been beaten by Uruguay but the tougher tests are here with France.

“They are both great teams with great players but so have we and I’m sure it’s going to be a good game.

“We know that they like to keep possession of the ball. Its important that we are organised. But also we have to be ruthless as well. When we get chances we have to take them.”

Michael Regan – The FA

Utility man: Jones can play in defence or midfield

Jones, 23, has played just eight times for club and country over the last four injury-interrupted months.

He is also able to perform right-back and central midfield. But he admitted that although he is willing to play anywhere to help the team, he would prefer to nail down one position.

He went on: “I’ve always said that centre-back is the position I want to play in. But if the manager calls me to play in the right back position or wherever it may be I am more than capable of doing that and doing a job for the team.

“When you are learning the game and you are still young, it can be an added bones that you can play in another position and you’ve got another chance to play in another position. But wherever I am asked to play I will do a job for the team.”

Action Images via Reuters Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the second goal for England

Perfect 10: England breezed through their qualifying campaign

England are unbeaten since losing to Uruguay at the World Cup in June 2014. They have won all four of their European Championship qualifying games this season, scoring 13 goals.

Jones went on: “A lot of people forget how well we have done since that Uruguay game. A lot of people,e say that we have not had the better teams to play against or they have not been good or whatever.

“But we have to go out and beat what is put in front of us. Everyone has played a part and that has top be respected,

“We are under no illusions that we have to be at our best to beat the teams that will be put in front of us in the Euros. but these are good tests for us against Spain and France in the next week or so and we will see where we are after that.”