Roy Keane: Manchester United’s Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are not good enough for England
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has claimed that Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have gone backwards in their development, telling reporters that they do not deserve to be in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Both Jones and Smalling were named in Roy Hodgson’s 23 man England squad for the tournament in Brazil, but Keane has been disappointed in the Manchester United pair, who signed from Blackburn and Fulham in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
“We were told Jones was going to be the new Duncan Edwards – Smalling was going to be this and that.
“I’ve watched United live nine or 10 times this year and they have been none of those things. If anything I think they have gone backwards,” claimed Keane.
“You say you have to give players a chance to mature, but also you’ve got players who you say, ‘We’ve given you a chance and you’re not taking it.’ They need to do a lot better if they want to cement their place at United.
“Jones needs to toughen up. Every time I see him he is getting carried off.”
Shoulder, ankle, knee, groin and foot injuries and concussion have restricted Jones to 26 Premier League appearances, although which of these could have been cured by “toughening up” is up for debate. Keane continued by claiming that on current form the England pair should not be at the World Cup.
“Not on their current form. The two of them have had disappointing seasons.
“But England might need them, you may get players who get injured. Maybe in other positions they might be needed. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Roy has taken Jones and Smalling, with the thinking that they can play full back or midfield.”