Mourinho queries why Jones got six injections before friendly
England defender ruled out of Newcastle United’s visit to Old Trafford
England’s Phil Jones goes down during the friendly against Germany at Wembley on November 10th. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
José Mourinho has made clear his frustration at the England setup’s handling of Phil Jones after revealing the defender had been given six local anaesthetic injections in his thigh before last week’s friendly against Germany.
Jones started as England’s most-capped player for the goalless draw at Wembley, but hobbled off midway through the first half with a recurrence of an injury first sustained in the Premier League defeat at Huddersfield Town in mid-October.
Gareth Southgate, whose handling of Danny Drinkwater’s decision not to join the senior squad has also drawn criticism of sorts from Antonio Conte, duly released the United centre-half but, having missed the draw with Brazil on Tuesday, Jones has been ruled out of Newcastle United’s visit to Old Trafford.
“With Phil Jones the strange thing is that I have been a manager since 2000 and in 17 years as a manager I don’t have one single player that had injections of anaesthetic to play a friendly,” said Mourinho.
“Never. I am not an angel and I had players injected to play official matches, crucial matches, but a friendly? To get six local anaesthetic injections to play a friendly, I’ve never heard of that. But Phil Jones had it, and had it before the match, and after 25 minutes he was out and tomorrow [Saturday] he is out.”
Asked if he had spoken to Southgate or the Football Association to ascertain why Jones had so many injections, Mourinho said: “No. I am just telling a fact. He was injected in the afternoon of the match [Last Friday]. He didn’t feel good during the warm-up. Between the warm-up and the start of the match he had five more local injections to play the friendly.”
The FA’s medics are content that Jones returned to Carrington in the same condition in which he had arrived at St George’s Park, and had given their counterparts at United notice of their intention to give the player the course of injections – considered standard in pain relief – with no objections raised. Indeed, the 25-year-old had acknowledged in the buildup to the Germany friendly that pain management was an ongoing concern.
Conte, as a former Italy manager, was more sympathetic with Southgate’s predicament when it came to the national coach’s telephone conversation with Drinkwater to determine the midfielder’s availability in the aftermath of six senior withdrawals before the Germany fixture. However, he urged Southgate to contact him directly in future to ascertain whether a player is fit after a “misunderstanding” led to suggestions the £35 million signing’s reticence to join up reflected a lack of enthusiasm to represent his country.
Chelsea have always insisted Drinkwater, who has been unavailable for all of Southgate’s squad get-togethers to date, took a kick to his troublesome calf during a cameo as a substitute against United, which prevented him undertaking the post-match warm-down, and then ruled him out of training at Cobham.
Southgate appeared to be unaware of that fact on the eve of the Germany game.
“Sometimes I think it would be very easy to try to call the coach and ask: ‘This player is good? Is he totally fit? Does he have a problem? Is he tired or not?’” said Conte. “Then the national coach can decide whether they call up the player or not. Otherwise there are these misunderstandings.
“Drinkwater had an injury, and also wasn’t really 100 per cent fit to go with the national team. If someone had asked me this I could explain that. If the coach then wants to take his own decision that’s okay. But it’s important to have more of a relationship between the coach and the coach of the national team.”