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Marcolini casts doubt on Jodi Jones’ future with Malta after winger turned down call-up

Jodi Jones faces a bleak future with the national team after turning down a call-up for June's friendlies. Photo: AFP

Says he only wants players who are fully committed to the national team’s cause

Malta national teams head coach Michele Marcolini questioned the commitment of striker Jodi Jones after the England-based midfielder opted out of Malta’s squad for the upcoming friendly double-header against the Czech Republic, on Friday, and Greece, next week.

Reports said that the Notts County winger had decided not to join the national team’s training camp and the June friendlies as he wanted to rest after a very long season in England.

This was the second time this year that Jones opted against joining the national squad after he received permission to miss the March friendlies against Slovenia (2-2) and Belarus (0-0) after his partner gave birth to a baby.

Contacted by the Times of Malta, Marcolini said that he was disappointed by the lack of commitment shown by the England-based player and made it clear that he would only consider players who would show me the passion and pride in being part of the national team.

“Regarding Jodi Jones, as usual, we sent the international call-up as we do with all Maltese national team players who are playing abroad,” Marcolini told the Times of Malta.

“But from the start, both the club and the player were reluctant to accept the call-up, citing that the player needs to recover following a long season.

“I need to ensure that all players are fully committed and be respectful like the other players who joined the team when they were called up. I understand each player’s needs and we take care of each player’s welfare.

“But I believe that every player should be treated equally and no concession should be given to one individual. The group makes sacrifices to join outside the international window and we have a lot of responsibility to represent Malta and its people around the world.”

Marcolini said that only those players who show attachment and commitment to the national team’s jersey will be selected in his future squads.

“In my opinion everyone should be proud to be part of the national team, it has to be a special feeling as we have a lot of people who follow us and we need to give more than our 100 per cent to give our best,” Marcolini said.

“The player that doesn’t want or doesn’t feel anything when representing Malta is not a player that can be involved in our group.

“We need a very united group to reach a very important objective and we want everyone to give more than 100 per cent inside and outside the pitch. We must start with this awareness as this is fundamental if we are to create something special.”

As things stand, Jones, who last season enjoyed a record-breaking season with Notts County when he set a new record for assists set up in all four divisions of English football, is unlikely to play a part for Malta in the UEFA Nations League unless his attitude changes.

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