Phil Jones is demanding a written apology from former England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Pearce criticised players aged under-21 who pulled out of representing the Under-21 team in tournaments because they had already been capped by the senior team. And he went as far as to name Manchester United defender Jones.
Pearce said: “In our wildest dreams do you honestly think that England or any nation in the world can turn up at a major tournament without six or seven – I think there were eight players with senior international caps – who could have played for the England Under-21s this summer?.
“Out of those 17, you talk about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere. The odd one was injury, [but] apathy played a big part of it – the Oxlade-Chamberlains of this world, the Phil Joneses, because they didn’t want to come.
“Once they go through the golden ivory towers of the seniors they don’t want to come and play with the Under-21s any more. There is no nation in the world that could suffer that.
“Our boys, for whatever reason, be it the power of the Premier League, the finance they get at such a young age, whatever it may be, there is a lack of real passion to want to play for your country no matter what. We have to solve that problem and give them international experience.”
The reports claim that Jones has contacted the FA – who described themselves as “disappointed” by Pearce’s comments – to register his anger.
Although the former Blackburn man does not plan to take legal action, he has demanded a written apology on the grounds that Pearce was aware of his unavailability, and the reasons for it, long before the squad for the European Under-21 Championships had been announced.
Image: Ben Sutherland