Australia not giving up on Everton young gun Jones

Reuters

Australia is keeping the door open to promising Everton defender Gethin Jones in a last-gasp bid to lure him away from Wales.

The Perth-born 21 year-old, on loan at Championship club Barnsley, last month knocked back an invitation to join a junior Australia development squad camp in Spain led up by Olyroos coach Josep Gombau.

Late last year Jones, who returned to the UK aged three and has been on Everton's books since the age of 12, said in an interview he felt "more Welsh than Australian", after confirming he'd been contacted over representing the country of his birth.

Gombau isn't giving up hope that the Wales Under-21 captain may yet change his mind and swap the red for the green and gold before he is handed a senior cap.

"We were been in contact with him over attending the camp but he told us, at this moment, he is with Wales and he does not want to change," said Gombau, who views the right-back as a future Socceroos prospect.

"He is a very good player, and is playing in a position which we need to cover well.

"If he were to change his mind he'd have a good chance of progressing.

"Maybe one day he will become a Socceroo, but right now he's not thinking in this way.

"He's the captain of the Wales under-21 team and is concentrating on his football in England."

Gombau has also reached out to another on-loan Australian at Barnsley, left-back Callum Elder, with a view to assessing his potential.

The 22 year-old - who is on the books of Leicester City - accepted an invitation for the March development squad camp but had to withdraw through injury.

"Both players are playing at a good level. The Championship is a good League," Gombau said.

Another Australian at Barnsley, attacker Ryan Williams, confirmed that Jones - who has captained Wales through the age groups from under-16 level - appears deeply committed to the land of his lineage.

"He speaks fluent Welsh, and has Welsh number plates on his car," said Williams, who wants to play for Australia but could also represent Wales courtesy of a Welsh grandfather. 

"I think he feels a lot more affiliated with Wales than Australia. To him, it's his home.

"He's a really good player. He likes to overlap, uses the ball well and is quick and strong.

"If I think if he gets another loan next season he'll be happy with that and looks to have a really bright future."

Asked if he thought Jones was Premier League-ready, Williams replied: "He might be good enough now but that's down to the Everton coaching staff. It's all about opinions."


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