Jones camp reject claims he demanded Roos starting spot

The Brad Jones camp have countered claims that the Feyenoord keeper snubbed a recall for June's crowded calendar of Socceroos matches, insisting he was never approached in the first place.

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Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones Source: AAP

Eyebrows were raised when Jones's name was missing from Ange Postecoglou's initial 30-man squad for the World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia, the friendly with Brazil and subsequent Confederations Cup, in the light of his title-winning Eredivisie form.

A Fairfax report declared that the 35-year-old gloveman had been sounded out, only to make his acceptance of a return to the fold for the first time in three years conditional on landing a starting place ahead of Mat Ryan and Mitch Langerak.

Jones, who has made just four appearances for the Socceoos, hasn't featured since his 30-minute cameo against Ecuador in 2014.

However, Jones' UK-based representative Gary Williams insisted: "Brad was never contacted over his availability for the squad to represent Australia in June.

"He hasn't spoken to, or heard from anybody (in the Australia set up), about being involved in the forthcoming camp.

"But that doesn't mean he's not very much open to playing for his country again, because he most certainly is."

It is understood that while Jones may not have been canvassed over his willingness to join this latest squad, he has been contacted in the recent past by the Socceroos hierarchy.

It's unclear why those enquiries never led to a call-up, and a Socceroos source was unable to confirm whether or not Jones had made any demands concerning game time.

In any event, his absence is Australia's loss, according legendary Socceroos shot-stopper Mark Schwarzer, to whom Jones was a long-time deputy at Middlesbrough before subsequent moves to Liverpool, Derby, Bradford City, NEC Nijmegen and finally Feyenoord.

"What Brad has achieved in Holland shows the determination and mental strength he has acquired over the years," Schwarzer said of the one-time understudy who gathered the last of his four caps with a 30-minute cameo in the 4-3 loss to Ecuador in 2014.

"I feel he's very unlucky (not to be involved), but Ange has a specific way of playing and mangers throughout your career have a certain view of you as a player, some like you some don't."

On this occasion Jones, who has penned a new two-year deal with Feyenoord, missed out to Ryan and Langerak, with Danny Vukovic and Swansea City's Mark Birighitti claiming the other two spots.

"It doesn't look like Brad is the type of keeper Ange is looking for right now, and he obviously feels he has ample cover in Mat and Mitch," added Schwarzer.

"Maybe there has been communication between Ange and Brad, I don't know.

"To me, it's very surprising he's not involved but managers have their own thoughts on who they want to pick, and Ange will have his reasons."

One of those might be, rightly or wrongly, the coach's apparent perception that Jones was making audacious requests concerning his status in the pecking order.

Schwarzer, who won 107 caps, believes Jones will not let his continued Socceroos absence affect him as he celebrates a late-blooming period of a career spent largely as a back-up.

"Knowing him, he will be taking it in his stride ... he probably had zero expectations of being selected," added the 43 year old former Boro, Chelsea and Leicester keeper turned TV pundit.

"He's had an incredible season (with 17 clean sheets) and as a player all you can do is perform as well as you possibly can.

"In Brad's case he's played the best football of his career in the last 12 months, and if that's not good enough to get selected for the national team then it's not meant to be at this stage of his career.

"But I can see him playing for another five years at a great level, and things change ... managers come and go, and when the next boss comes in after the World Cup they may have a different opinion."

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4 min read
Published 25 May 2017 at 11:32pm
By Dave Lewis
Source: SBS The World Game