Confident Jones expects England to show class

Manchester United defender Phil Jones believes England can prove their doubters wrong and show they are serious challengers for Euro 2016 with victories over Spain and France.

Despite winning all 10 qualifiers, England are not considered to be one of the favourites to win next summer’s tournament in France.

Spain, France, Italy and Belgium have a better chance of going all the way, according to the bookmakers, but Jones does not believe England’s post World Cup achievements should be disregarded just because they had to face the likes of Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia and Lithuania in qualifying.

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Roy Hodgson’s team are unbeaten in 15 matches, but that record will come under threat over the next week as England take on Spain and France in two ‘testing’ friendlies.

Jones reckons two wins will do a lot to prove England are capable of challenging with the best.

“We are under no illusions that we have to be at our best to beat the teams that will be put in front of us in the Euros, but these are good tests for us against Spain and France in the next week or so and we will see where we are after that,” said the 23-year-old.

“We’ve been on a great run since we have been beaten by Uruguay (at the World Cup) but the tougher tests are here with France and Spain.

“They are both great teams with great players but so have we. It has been a satisfying year for England. A lot of people forget how well we have done since that Uruguay game.

“A lot of people say that we have not had the better teams to play against or they have not been good or whatever, but we have to go out and beat what is put in front of us. Everyone has played a part and that has to be respected.”

England, who host France at Wembley next Tuesday, will face a big test in trying to beat Spain goalkeeper David de Gea when the two sides meet at the Estadio Jose Rico Perez in Alicante tomorrow.

The Spanish goalkeeper has been in fine form for United, so Jones knows exactly how hard it will be to score past thim.

“David has been great for the last few years and still has a lot more to come and has a great career ahead of him,” said Jones of his Manchester United team-mate. “He is improving every day.”