Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has strongly rebuked England manager Gareth Southgate and his medical staff for playing Manchester United defender Phil Jones in a recent friendly after he received six pain-killing injections.
Jones, whose six-year United career has been plagued by injuries, was forced off in the first half of England’s 0-0 draw with Germany last week after aggravating a thigh injury.
Mourinho said the injury would prevent Jones from playing against Newcastle United on Saturday and suggested rival clubs had withdrawn their players from international duty under false pretences.
“I expect that every player who was injured last week is not playing,” the United manager told reporters on Friday.
“If a player was injured Tuesday and the player is ready to play tomorrow, there is something that is going wrong.
“Phil Jones was injured Tuesday (for England’s friendly against Brazil) and obviously he is injured for tomorrow.”
Players from Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool were all reported to be fit for their clubs’ matches this weekend despite having pulled out of the England squad.
“If any player is ready for tomorrow, there is something strange,” Mourinho said.
“But for me the stranger thing with Phil Jones 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.
“Never. Never. I am not an angel and I had players be injected to play official matches, crucial matches, but 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 15 minutes he was out and tomorrow he is out.”
Mourinho was clearly furious the England medical team went to such lengths to get Jones, 25, on the pitch for a friendly.
“I am just telling a fact,” he said. “He was injected in the afternoon of the match. 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. I have nothing more to say.”
Mourinho would not reveal what action, if any, United intend to take against Southgate and England over the matter.
But Jones’s unavailability is a blow for United, at a time when they have finally received some welcome news from the treatment room.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marcos Rojo have all returned from long-term injuries and could make their comebacks against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
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